Organic Gardening: How to Get Rid of Insect Pests
Whether you’re a farmer or a hobbyist gardener, you’ll come across garden pests, which can take all your hard work and destroy it seemingly overnight. There are many solutions available for dealing with pests, ranging from pesticides to nontoxic compounds to even substances you probably already have in your home. This article is here to walk you through a few organic methods of ridding your garden of pests.
Option 1: Prevention
The best way to get rid of pests is never to have them in the first place! Many basic gardening habits benefit your garden in more ways than one, including making it less desirable for pests to live within. By pulling out weak plants that are likely to get infected and maintaining healthy soil, your garden will be much less appealing for pests. If you do pull up an infected—or even suspected infected plant, be sure to disinfect those tools so that the disease/s don’t spread the next time you use those tools.
Option 2: Physical Action
Here’s an effective measure against insect pests that requires little to no money at all—that of taking physical action. If you see a plant with a minor infestation, you might be able to pick off the pests or remove a section of it without having to uproot or destroy the entire plant. Similarly, you can use water pressure to wash the pests—just make sure the plant is resilient enough to withstand the pressure you’re using on it!
Option 3: Household Items
There are many items that you may already have in your house that can be extremely effective at either killing or driving away pests. These items—such as hot peppers, eggshells, or even just plain soap and water— are effective at removing pest infestations. Better yet, they are often cheap on the wallet: even if you don’t have these items at home, you can get them easily and relatively economically.
Option 4: Oils
There are some oils that are effective at repelling garden pests. While many of these oils should only be used while diluted, once they’re diluted, you can just spray them on plants that have already become infested. Neem oil is an example of such oils. Though be careful with oils, as some can also repel bugs that are beneficial to a garden.
Option 5: Other Bugs
While many bugs fall under the pest category, some are actually helpers—repelling or feeding on the pests you want to get rid of. As such, keeping a supply of ladybugs, praying mantises, and hoverflies around will reduce damage to your garden and help ensure healthy crops. And even better: once they’re in your garden, you don’t have to worry about feeding or otherwise maintaining them!
Option 6: Companion Planting
Much like the helpful bugs mentioned in the above option, companion planting is an organic option to deter pests from bothering your garden. Companion gardening isn’t just limited to flowers either—you can plant vegetables and herbs such as onions and sage. Not only are seeds for many of these vegetables, herbs, and plants extremely affordable, but for the vegetables and herbs, you can eat them as well!
Option 7: Traps
If none of the above are effective, you can also try traps. There are many kinds of traps, some of which don’t harm the pest at all. Using yellow fly-paper—any yellow board or paper that’s covered in a sticky substance—is a very effective trap. There’s also using specialty pheromones and even flowers you can use to control pests: placing the pheromones on the edge of your garden keeps pests away. You can also follow it up with plants such as zinnias and asters that attract pests outside of your garden, further keeping them away from your plants.
All in All
While there are many different methods of ridding your garden of pests, hopefully this list has shown you that there are quite a few that are organic and less toxic for the environment. Some of these options don’t even harm the pest, instead, redirecting them into another area. With these tips, you should be able to work towards a pest-free garden while feeling happy about the methods used!