We choose organic gardening because we want to avoid all the chemicals that are so prevalent in our society. But as soon as we make a commitment to raising food this way, we’re faced with out deadliest enemy: bugs! How do we kill them – or at least, get rid of them – without heavy-duty pesticides? Well, yes, there ARE ways but to accomplish our noble goal we need to master organic gardening pest control.
What makes natural pest control so tough is the reality that there are vast numbers of different varieties of unwanted insects which will invade and ravage your precious organic garden. So we absolutely must know what we’re doing or we are certain to lose the war.
On the list of thoroughly tested tactics for insect control is knowledge. We need to learn all we can about the various predators that will feast on our organic treasures, if we let them. We can’t really blame them, you know. They recognize good stuff when they find it and it’s only natural that they would think it’s luscious, just like we do. But that doesn’t change the fact that we’re not putting our toil and money into a garden only to let the bugs eat it all. These enemies of your organic garden will gobble up your crop only if you allow them to chow down.
Removing Or Killing Beetles
You’ve got only two alternatives for protecting your crop from beetles:
Manually remove them by hand …
Spray them with insecticide that kills them …
If you do nothing, you won’t have any produce left because beetles eat huge amounts of food. Not only that, but when they find a happy home they somehow send out a call to all their beetle relatives, and soon there’s a family reunion – and you’re supplying the picnic lunch!
Aphids On Plants
Aphids are sticky insects that love to eat and invade in the trillions! OK, perhaps that’s an exaggeration but they do seem to attach your organic garden – and anything else – in huge numbers. They love veggies, especially, so if you’re growing for your salad bowl you are sure to attract them. Supposedly getting rid of aphids is easy because it’s simply to make an organic aphids spray out of soap. But I don’t know that’s true. I had a gorgeous, healthy, spectacular indoor jade plant and aphids got into it. I sprayed it again and again with soap spray – but nothing helped. I even followed directions for a nasty-looking and smelling insecticide made with tobacco. Didn’t work. My gorgeous plant was destroyed.
My personal experience: aphids control isn’t that easy. Darn it.
Lucky me – I haven’t had any experience with cabbage worms but supposedly an organic gardener will know they’re there by all the holes in the leaves of your plants. Lots of worms will hide on the bottom of the leaves. (Surely they aren’t smart enough to hide from us?) As with all such bugs, you can pick them off by hand if you want to … Personally, I’m a wuss so doing that isn’t my favorite activity, although I’ve done it a couple of times.
There is a product called neem oil that cabbage worms don’t like. It’s worth trying to preserve the health of your plants. Supposedly it’s "the cabbage worm’s worst enemy".
If you see crawling, dull caterpillars that are brown in color, then you have found cutworms invading your territory! Placing paper collars around plants after digging around the area may help prevent cutworms from taking up your precious soil and nutrients. These things like to snuggle up to your plants for the shade – and of course, they can reach out and grab a tasty morsel whenever the urge hits them. Too bad it’s YOUR tasty morsel.
Maggots are truly gross to me, and I suspect to most people. One of the classic ways to kill maggots is with bleach – but bleach is quite toxic and you don’t really want it sinking into your plants, so this isn’t very helpful advice.
Prevention is important because maggots are attracted to garbage and in the hot summer they come swarming around anything that’s tasty to them – like meat. So make certain that your garbage cans have tightly locked lids and keep any rotting garbage away from your garden.
All of these insects, and many more, will destroy your garden – if you let them. Not to mention, they’re disgusting to people like me! You can use insecticide, of course, but then you won’t have an organic garden anymore. So if you think that keeping pests out of an organic garden is tough – you’re right.
#1: You need to know a lot of different insects and different methods for eliminating them. It’s pretty overwhelming.
#2: Secondly, if you have an organic garden, you probably care about the earth and its critters and you would prefer to keep them away, rather than destroying them.
So, let me tell you how I solve the insect problem.
My Love Affair With The Dill Herb & The Caterpillar War
Have you ever seen cats go into ecstasy over catnip? That’s how I feel about dill. Yes, I love and adore the dill herb! It smells good, tastes great and is simply bursting with life. So every year, growing dill is important to me and I plant lots of little plants in the spring, along with parsley, cilantro (I have trouble growing this one) and several others.
In 2007 I went into my herb garden and was horrified to find my dil l plants covered in caterpillars! I looked them up in my organic gardening books and discovered they would soon turn into butterflies, so naturally I didn’t want to kill them.
Please understand that I don’t like to touch insects, but I gathered my courage – and a pair of rubber gloves! – and picked off the the fuzzy little things. I put them in a pail and let them go way in my back yard. I was horrified to go out to pick some herbs for dinner – and found the caterpillars were back. Oh, no!
Organic Pesticide Conquers The Caterpillars
I WIN THE WAR! What I did was follow the advice of a fascinating guy named John Perez. John has a book called Forceful Insecticides & Fertilizers: Homemade Recipes which is a treasure and a jewel. The focus is on lawns but it includes directions on how to make:
"… long-lasting pest-resistant natural insecticides that work faster than commercial brands."
The claim for John’s work is this: "Give me ONE Day and I’ll make your lawn the most dazzling spectacle on the block…" So even though my interest was in organic gardening, rather than yards, I decided to try the recipes that Perez is supposed to have worked on for 50 years. The guy was on TV and supposedly some of the big chemical companies offered him a fortune to give up his recipes – but he refused. Way to go, John!
Check out Forceful Insecticides & Fertilizers: Homemade Recipes and if you decide – like me – that you’ve just gotta have it, and buy it through this link, it will be our pleasure to give you the two fine eBooks below:
|101 Tips For Growing & Enjoying Your Own Great Rose Garden: types of roses; choosing the right roses for you; fertilizing; pruning; growing organic roses; curing rose diseases; getting rid of pests; drying your roses; reviving wilting roses; roses as gifts; boosting your roses in the spring.|
|Tilling The Soil In Your Own Backyard Vegetable Garden: this fascinating book focuses on four main areas of vegetable gardening … reasons for gardening and what you will need to get started; preparation for planting; getting those baby plants in the ground; the value of gardening and what to do with that luscious produce.|
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