No matter what we do as organic gardeners, pests always seem to find a way to invade our precious space. Certainly there are all kinds of chemical products that are effective in controlling pests, but organic treatment methods are what we should all be using.
Probably the easiest and most sensible approach to pest control is to make your garden’s habitat unacceptable to the invaders. Pests generally feed on the weak and diseased. With that in mind, do whatever you can to strengthen both the soil and your plants. Do a proper testing of your soil’s Ph and try to keep it at between 6 and 7. This will allow your plants to access their required nutrients without undue stress, resulting in stronger pest resistant plants.
Fertilizers will also play a role in a natural pest control program. While most fertilizers do wonders for the plants themselves, they can be detrimental to the wellbeing of the soil. For this reason it is a great idea to also use some of the modern ocean based nutrients to supplement your fertilizer applications. These contain beneficial amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and trace minerals which will really boost the health of your soil. Check with the professionals at your local garden center to learn more about the ocean based additives.
One basic strategy is to simply keep pests away from your plants. Using lightweight row covers is very effective. Once you have transplanted young seedlings to the garden, place a row cover on top of the planets, or better yet, use “hoops” to create some space above the plants and lay the cover onto the hoops. New lightweight materials allow the covers to let in about 95% of the sun’s heat, while keeping pests out.
Companion planting is another simple way to battle pests. Don’t make it easy for the little critters to thrive in one place. For instance, green caterpillars love broccoli and cabbage and can devastate a bed rather quickly. But if you interplant some celery in the same bed, the caterpillars will have second thoughts about infesting that area. Onions and garlic are also a great deterrent to most pests, especially Japanese beetles and spider mites. The potato beetle hates green beans and limas, while bean beetles hate potatoes. Plant these two crops in adjacent beds and you’ll kill two birds (pests) with one stone.
One final thing to remember. Not all insects are harmful to you garden. We really like all of the following which love to dine on a variety of evil pests:
Assassin Bugs, Green Lacewings, Hoverflies, Ladybugs, Spined Soldier Bugs and many types of Wasps.