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Get Rid of Pests Naturally with Organic Pest Control

One of the most frustrating things in the garden is dealing with pests, so it is important to learn how to get rid of pests naturally with organic pest control. If you aspire to growing truly organic produce, then learning how to deal with pests naturally from the very beginning will be much easier than trying to "unlearn" how to use chemicals in the garden.

Accept That Pests Will Happen

The first step to dealing with pests is accepting that they will happen. They will damage your crops. Just take a deep breath and accept it. The good news is that one pest will not wipe out your entire garden, each pest has its own favorite crop. You may have squash bugs, but never see a hornworm. You may have slugs but no squash bugs. This is yet another reason to grow a variety of crops -- you will not lose everything from one infestation.

The words “pest control” are a bit misleading; we only have control of a small part of the garden, everything else is in the hands of mother nature. And that’s ok. There’s always next season.

Create a Biologically Balanced Garden

The key to getting rid of pests naturally with organic pest control is developing a biologically diverse garden. Pests may eat our plants, but there is definitely something in the food chain eats those pests. By creating a diverse garden space, we are well protected against the biggest threats in the long-term.

  • Attract beneficial insects- Beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings and braconid wasps feast on the pests that feast on our plants. Ladybugs, lacewings and their larvae eat aphids, along with many pest eggs while braconid wasps take care of problem caterpillars. Follow my Garden Insects: Good vs. Bad Pinterest page for images and information on garden insects you may see in your garden. Having plenty of sources of nectar in your garden is the best way to attract beneficial insects. Grow more flowers!
  • Take care of the soil- Healthy soil supports beneficial insects, fungi and beneficial nematodes. The use of mulch for decomposing materials, weed control, erosion prevention, and moisture retention is a great place to start. Never use chemical fertilizers, instead opt for organic options and high-quality compost.
  • Attract Birds- Hornworms, fruit worms, japanese beetles, and grasshoppers can be controlled by attracting birds to the garden. Add a bird feeder and a birdbath in your garden area -- they are pretty and functional. Our native birds are excellent hunters in the garden, but some birds can be pests as well. Starlings in particular can damage garden crops, although I haven't personally had problem with them. To be safe, and ensure you are only attractive native birds, put black oil sunflowers in your bird feeders.
  • Protect your stems- Two of the most destructive insect pests in our area can be controlled with one method: Protecting your plant stems. Cut worms eat their way around tomato and corn seedlings, destroying a plant overnight. Vine borers lay their eggs in the stem of squash plants, and the larvae eat their way out, destroying the plant. By wrapping the base of plants with toilet paper rolls, straws, or aluminum foil, these pests cannot destroy plants.
  • Fencing- For the larger pests, such as bunnies, dog and cats, fencing may be necessary. For the biggest pests, deer, you will need an 8 foot fence. The only deer repellent that I have heard actually works for deer is lion poop distributed at the corner of the property. If you have a zoo nearby, this is a viable option. I do realize this sounds like a joke, but it's not. This method works if you can manage it!

Dealing with Specific Pests

I will cover control of specific pests, such as squash bugs, aphids and vine borers, in different posts. Do a search in the search bar on the upper right side bar on this page to see if I have covered the specific pest you are looking for. If you would like information on protecting from a particular pest in your garden, leave me a comment and I will cover it in a future post.

What is your biggest garden pest?


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