Gardening comes with plenty of joys and challenges, and if you are into organic gardening, pest control is easily one of those challenges. The good news is that pests can be controlled and even eliminated. Pests in an organic garden, or every type of garden, is quite normal. The problem is that bugs multiply so easily. If you find two bugs in your garden today, you will probably have a small colony by the end of the month. Don’t panic, though. There are certain approaches you can make use of to take control and keep your organic garden healthy.
What’s Bugging You?
Not all bugs are destructive critters. In fact, many are quite helpful, such as bees and ladybugs. However, there are bugs that are considered pests, such as ants, grasshoppers, slugs, snails, aphids, armyworms, pillbugs, cabbageworms, thrips, whitefly, and certain species of beetles.
Why Go Organic?
Organic pest control offers certain benefits. Chemical or synthetic pesticides have been known to contain harmful and even toxic ingredients that have an adverse effect on health. Some insecticides, for example, have been linked to problems such as allergies, cancer, birth defects, encephalitis, lymphoma, and even infertility.
Chemical-based pesticides can also contaminate the soil, air, and water. They can also be toxic to animals and helpful bugs. If you have a serious infestation, treating your garden with chemical pesticides can cost you. Fortunately, there are alternative solutions you can whip up using things you probably already have in your own kitchen.
Getting Rid Of Pests In Your Organic Garden
Know Your Enemy – As a first approach, learn which types of pests are present in your garden by observing affected plants. If you inspect leaves, fruits, stalks, and roots, you might even find some of these insects and identify them. Some insects target specific plants. Asparagus beetles, for example, like to feast on asparagus. If you see your asparagus plants affected, the asparagus beetle might be to blame.
Go Native – Many organic farmers choose native varieties of plants for a reason. Native plants have developed their own self-defense system that repels common pests. Some of them may even have adapted well enough to even survive a pest attack. By choosing native species, you may have a better chance of controlling pests and reducing their damage.
Mix It Up – Some plant species work well with other species, developing a symbiotic relationship that benefits them. Find out which plants have this type of relationship, then plant them next to one another, or at least in one area. They will be able to help repel pests and protect each other in the process.
Keep the Soil Healthy – Healthy soil not only attracts fewer bad bugs, it also helps plants grow stronger and healthier. Check your plant quality and pH level from time to time, and make the proper adjustments when necessary. You might also want to consider crop rotation and using compost or organic fertilizers.
Avoid the Bug Rush – Some bugs are more active during certain months. Find out which bugs are on a specific schedule and plan your planting season accordingly. This will ensure that your plants have better chances of survival.
Make Friends With Other Bugs – Make your garden more attractive to friendly bugs. Once they set up residence, they will help you get rid of harmful pests. Take note that if you utilize friendly bugs for pest control, you should avoid using chemical fertilizers because these can kill them as well.
The presence of pests in an organic garden is to be expected. The key is to be prepared and to arm yourself with the right knowledge to manage and control them. Gardening may be a dirty job but it sure rewards your hard work beautifully.