When it comes to gardening, one of the worst things for both humans and the environment are the pesticides used. Plain and simple, pesticides are toxic. Pesticides were invented to kill harmful insects. The problem with this is; they don’t target just harmful insects. Pesticides are toxic to all living things, including people. The toxins used to create pesticides are extremely harmful to pets and children. Medical science has linked a whole laundry list of health problems with the toxins used in pesticides. Illnesses such as: learning disorders, cancer, asthma, birth defects, toxicity of the central nervous system, and many more. Worst of all, contamination from pesticides into the world’s water supply has already taken place.
These pesticides don’t just disappear. They become part of nature’s food chain. The contaminated water is absorbed into the plants in that water. These plants are consumed by the fish that also live in that water. The toxic chemicals are then absorbed into the bodies of the fish. These fish are caught and consumed by people. Of course, these toxins are absorbed into our bodies. Obviously, the same chain of events happens to land based plants and animals. Now that you know this, the question becomes; do you want to add more toxins, to your body, by using pesticides on your vegetable garden?
How to Control Garden Pests Organically
One of the easiest ways to control garden pests is to use the method commonly referred to as “companion planting.” There are certain plants that act as a natural insect repellent. By planting these plants with your other plants, you’ll keep the insects away. Examples of such plants include the following: garlic, onions, and marigolds. You can either plant them next to your other plants, or plant them in a perimeter around your organic garden, to act as a natural barrier. You could also do both of these; to ensure maximum effectiveness for organic pest control.
Use soap as an organic pesticide
You can either purchase special insecticidal soap, or make your own. Making your own is economical and easy to do. You squeeze a few drops of liquid dish soap into a cup of water. You then spray the mixture on your plants, and then rinse it completely off. This form of repellent is especially effective against aphids, thrips, and spider mites. You have to make sure the leaves, stems, and flowers, of your plants are completely sprayed and covered. One word of caution; if you use the wrong type of liquid dish soap, one which contains triclosan, most commonly found in antibacterial liquid soap, it is probable you will damage the leaves of your plants. You may also damage the plants if you use too much liquid soap. Remember; only use a few drops of soap, per cup of water.
Pick off and remove the bugs
If the thought of touching bugs with your bare hands freaks you out, get yourself a pair of gardening gloves. This method involves going to your garden when the bugs are most likely to be active; such as early in the morning or late at night. Once you’re in your garden, look for harmful insects on your organic plants, and physically remove them from your plants. When you remove a bug, make sure it is a harmful bug and not a helper bug.
Mainly, you’re going to be on the lookout to remove tomato hook worms, potato bugs, Japanese beetles, slugs, or any other insect pests common to your particular area. If you wish to not only remove these pests from your garden, but from this planet, put them in a container of soapy water. As mentioned previously, be careful when killing bugs. You don’t want to kill helper bugs.
Fill your organic garden with helper bugs
There are bugs that will eat the harmful insects that find their way into your garden. These little allies will take care of your harmful insect problem; naturally. Such helper bugs include the following: Lady Bugs, lacewings, and the mighty, praying mantis. You can purchase them in large quantities at an organic garden supply store. Take them home and let them loose in your garden, sit back, and allow them to go to work for you. Other powerful allies you can have in your garden are spiders. They will catch and eat the harmful flying insect pests. If you see webs in your organic garden, don’t disturb them. Let the spiders help you out.
You can also use physical barriers. One such method is to use old coffee cans. Simply cut the tops and bottoms off of them and push them into the ground. You should place these barriers around young plants. This will prevent hook worms from getting to them. You can also use diatomaceous earth around your organic plants. By doing this, you will help to prevent a slug infestation. If you typically have grass hopper problems, you can utilize fine netting to help keep them out.
By using the above organic methods for pest control, in your organic garden, you will help to prevent adding further toxic chemicals into your body. You will also help the planet by not adding more toxic chemicals into the environment.