Growing a garden is a fantastic way to cut down on food costs while also monitoring exactly what goes into what you eat. Pests are one of the most common problems associated with gardening, and they can do a lot of damage if you don’t take steps to keep them under control. While chemical treatments can be beneficial, you shouldn’t rely on them – especially when you have pets or small children. Here are seven easy ways that you can drive pests away while keeping your garden organic.
The easiest and most effective way to keep pests at bay is to make your garden unappealing to them. While you may not see immediate results, this should be the first step towards a lasting critter-free garden. First, remove any weak plans that may already be infested. Next, use healthy, high-quality organic soil to keep your plants strong. Eliminate weeds, foliage, and any other debris. When possible, deliver water directly to the root system, rather than getting leaves wet.
2. Oil Spray
Now you’re ready to spray your garden with organic pest control. We’ll talk about a few different options so you can determine the best for your needs. The first is oil spray, which is ideal for getting rid of aphids, thrips, spider mites, whiteflies, and other sap-sucking insects. Mix 1 cup of cooking oil or organic neem oil with 1 pint of warm water. Now apply a mist of this blend to the plants every week. If you don’t have an appropriate sprayer or if you have a lot of ground to cover, then consider investing in a professional-grade sprayer.
3. Garlic Spray
Many pests can’t stand the strong scent of garlic. Take a dozen cloves of garlic and 1 quart of water, and mix them thoroughly in a blender. Allow the mixture to sit for a full day and night, and then strain it through cheesecloth to remove the chunks. Add 1 cup of cooking oil to the mixture to help it to stick to the plants. This pungent mixture can be stored for multiple weeks and sprayed directly on your plants as needed.
4. Hot Pepper Spray
Red pepper is another natural pest deterrent that is especially effective for driving away leafhoppers, spittlebugs, beetles and loopers. Add 1 tablespoon of red pepper powder to 1 gallon of water. After mixing the blend thoroughly, you can spray it throughout your garden using a traditional garden sprayer.
5. Essential Oils
According to Wikipedia, balsam fir oil is a non-toxic substance that drives rodents away. To get rid of insect larvae, mosquitoes, fleas, and flies, try using diluted rosemary oil. Peppermint oil is another excellent essential oil that repels many different types of insects, including whiteflies, squash bugs, spiders, beetles, and ants, among many others. Clove oil is especially useful for getting rid of flying insects. On average, ten drops of essential oils mixed with a full spray bottle of water is an appropriate ratio.
6. Natural Predators
Depending on what type of species is invading your garden, you may be able to introduce non-harmful creatures to eliminate the pests. For example, ladybugs and praying mantises are popular choices. Try to find out what types of pests are harming your garden, and then check online for natural predators. You may be able to replace your current invasion with a friendlier species.
Scott Walston is a botanist and organic gardener who currently lives in San Diego, CA. When he’s not caring for his plants, he enjoys writing, basketball, and camping.