Earth Day is the perfect time to say a few things about organic gardening. I’d like to be doing more to protect the environment, but one thing I can say I have always done is organic gardening. I may have bought a bag or two of garden soil with some fertilizer in it at some point in time, so I can’t say I do it in a legalistic way, but I do do it for the most part and it has been very successful.
Organic Garden Pest Control
One down side of organic gardening is pest invasion. I have found the best organic solution is regular maintenance of plants. When you see things starting, take action. Most of the time I have to remove critters manually- just take them off and get rid of them. I do this a lot when I water and use the hose to “wash” them off the plants. This is not a lasting solution in the same way insecticides are so you have to remove problems daily. I’ve noticed I usually only have issues that get out of control when I let it go for several days without maintenance. You can also make a solution of dish soap and water which can be a bit more helpful and doesn’t harm anything you will eat or the plants themselves.
Common Garden Pests
A few of the problems I see regularly are…
- aphids on my roses
- cabbage moths in late spring on my cabbage and cabbage family crops
- black swallowtail caterpillars on parsley family
- squash bugs in late summer on squash
- rabbits and birds that help themselves to goodies throughout the year
So far this year my biggest pest problem has been rabbits. As much as I love them, I can’t let them eat all my cabbage. So I put a barrier around the garden. I used poles and a plastic mesh. It did work! The downside is accessing it for maintenance, but it’s a good temporary solution for a temporary garden. (As a military family, we move a lot. So I have to do something simple with my rental.)
Natures Pest Solutions
Pests stay away from onions and marigolds. So I plant them everywhere. I plant onions in my flower beds and I plant marigolds in my vegetable boxes. It’s not the solution to everything. But it’s something to try. The other natural pest control I can think of right off are ladybugs. They will eat aphids and other bad bugs. You can buy them and introduce them into your garden, but due to moving all the time I have not tried that. I do see several naturally, and when I do that is encouraging to me.
Food for the Organic Garden
I make my own soil mix. Usually 2 parts compost with manure, 1 part peat moss. Then I add a little vermiculite. Adding compost at any time is great so I add when I think it’s needed. I also feed my garden with bone or blood meal after harvesting something and before planting something new. This helps replenish the nutrients. You can read more about preparing soil.
What works for you in your garden? Please do share!
You may also want to check out: 10 Days of Planning a Summer Garden