While taking care of your garden, you’ll often find that insects are a much bigger problem than you would have thought. All plants are sensitive to one type of pest or another, and using pesticides is risky. You might often end up killing both your plants and the parasitic insects. That’s why it’s essential to know other ways to save your flowers and vegetables. Here are a few natural ways to get rid of pests in your garden.
Why Going All Natural Is the Best Choice
Pesticides and insecticides are extremely effective and powerful, so they’ll guarantee you you’ll get rid of all the parasites. However, they can be harsh on your plants. In some cases, they might kill their surroundings or even the plants themselves. In other cases, the plants might survive. However, the toxic chemicals remain on your vegetables, and consuming them afterward might be bad for your health.
There’s no need to worry. There are plenty of natural ways to get rid of pests in your garden that actually work. If you try some of these solutions, you will keep unpleasant insects away from your plants and won’t have to worry about eating vegetables with toxic chemicals on them.
Preventing Pests from Getting into Your Garden
Instead of trying hard to get rid of pests, there is the option of not struggling with such issues in the first place. If you know how to prevent them from attacking your garden, you can keep your plants happy and healthy without using all kinds of complicated methods. Keeping the soil healthy is the secret to keeping pests away.
Therefore, if your garden is still clean, make sure you take care of your soil and stop the insects from attacking the plants in the first place. Here are a few techniques to keep the soil healthy.
1. Do Not Disturb the Soil
Many people think that turning the soil on a regular basis helps the plants. However, there are plenty of disadvantages that come with it. By doing it, you ease the process of erosion, runoff, and leave the soil surface bare. At the same time, you disturb the earthworms and all the other microorganisms living in it. Don’t turn the soil to aerate it, as earthworms can do this job a lot better.
2. Apply Mulch
As soon as your plants have grown four inches tall, you can add a thin layer of mulch made of leaves and grass. This will keep the temperature of the soil constant, preserve its moisture, contribute with some organic matter, and keep weeds from growing around your plants.
3. Add Compost
To keep the soil nourished, you’ll need to apply some compost every spring. First of all, make sure you prepare a compost bin where you periodically add some organic materials. Then, once they are well decomposed, you can add a thin layer around your plants.
4. Rotate Your Crops
If you sow the same plants in the same soil, you will encourage in-soil pests to reproduce more rapidly. Therefore, perform crop rotation every season, and you will scare away any potential pests.
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Pests in Your Garden
If you haven’t been quick enough, it means pests have started attacking your plants. This calls for the second set of measures which consists of natural ways to get rid of pests in your garden. These methods are absolutely non-toxic, so you won’t have to worry about eating your vegetables. They don’t destroy the surrounding plants and keep everything healthy.
5. Put up Barriers Around Your Plants
A good way to keep insects and animals away are barriers. Yes, some animals can work as pests as well, as they can eat and dig up your plants. Putting up small fences around them will prevent the animals from going in. However, this solution isn’t too effective against insects, as they can crawl through fences and still attack the plants.
In this case, you can use covers made of plastic that let the light in, but keep insects away. You can lift this cover periodically to tend to the plants, but it can protect them when you are not in the garden. A more low maintenance method would be to cover plants in paper or plant them directly with a cover, such as toilet paper rolls. These won’t keep them from growing but are good protection against pests.
In some other cases, other plants can work as a barrier as well. For instance, pennyroyal, spearmint, and peppermint are great pest repellents. Planting such a natural barrier around your plants will guarantee you insects will stay away.
6. Bring Beneficial Insects to Your Garden
One of the best natural ways to get rid of pests in your garden is creating an ‘army’ of beneficial predators. Some insects are great for your garden, as they can prey on pests and keep them away. If you learn how to attract the beneficial insects, you get one of the cheapest natural ways to get rid of pests in your garden.
Bees are ideal for your garden, as they will pollinate your plants and keep the garden growing. On the list of insect predators, there are also ladybugs and spiders, which feed on plenty of pests that attack gardens. Predator flies, earwigs, and parasitic wasps are there as well, even if you might feel a little uncomfortable to bring them to your garden. In the end, ants, centipedes, and ground beetles should be the last ones to enter your vegetal enclosure.
7. Make Your Own Insecticides
Instead of buying toxic chemicals, you can use items in your household to create DIY insecticides that will keep pests away. One of the best methods you can use is to apply boric acid powder around the plants that are attacked by insects. This powder is some sort of poison for them. They don’t feed on it immediately, but the fine powder sticks to their bodies and legs when they walk among the plants.
This way, they bring the poison to their colonies, where they can easily ingest the powder from each other’s bodies. What is even better about boric acid powder is the fact that it’s completely non-toxic to humans or animals.
Some other great DIY insecticides are soap and oil sprays. These consist of mixing soaps with vegetable oil or with water, and all you have to do is spray the plants with the mixture. To make sure you kill the pests immediately, spray the contents of the mixtures directly on the affected areas. You can create another good insecticide from neem oil, which you can obtain from the neem tree seeds. This mixture can kill an insect during any moment of its life, so it attacks larvae and eggs as well.
8. Put up Insect Traps
If you’re still looking for natural ways to get rid of pests in your garden, you can consider traps as well. You can use various elements as bait. For instance, you can start with the classical one, and that is food. Some insects can be easily attracted by a piece of delicious food that is appealing to them. If you want something more elaborate, you can opt for visual traps that are enticing for the pests, or even pheromones.
While one trap might not catch all the parasitic insects, you can still find out valuable information about them. For instance, seeing when the insects approach your trap will show you when they go out ‘hunting.’ Also, you might find out how big is their population, and what you need to do to annihilate it and save your plants.
9. Removing the Pests Manually
This solution is unpractical if your garden is under serious pest attack, but it might work in isolated cases. If you notice mild signs of damage on your plants, it means insects have started attacking it. You can start by looking for their eggs and picking them up yourself. Doing it by hand might sound like a lot of work, but you can use special vacuums and solve the task more rapidly.
How to Tell You’ve Been Attacked by Insects
Usually, you can identify the pests by looking at the leaves of your plants. Knowing the insects you deal with is important, as you might have to use different methods to get rid of them. If the leaves are deformed, you are dealing with aphids, while a fainter color might mark the presence of mites. Caterpillars and slugs chew the leaves, while certain wasps and psyllids cause abnormal growths on them.
These are the best natural ways to get rid of pests in your garden which guarantee your plants remain insect-free. Opting for chemical pesticides and insecticides can attack the plants you are trying to save, and are toxic to humans and animals. Instead of risking some unpleasant incidents, it’s better to choose one of these natural pest repelling methods that will get you rid of the unwanted insects in no time.
Image source: Freestockphotos.biz