Gardening is a passion, whether growing vegetables or simply adding color to your yard with flowers. But no matter how avid a gardener you may be, garden pests can be a real problem. Insects like aphids, caterpillars, and slugs can quickly invade your garden beds and cause serious damage to the plants. Thankfully, there are ways to eliminate these pesky critters that don’t require harsh chemical pesticides or costly treatments.
Organic pest control strategies are the best way to protect your plants and the environment from potentially toxic chemicals. Unsurprisingly, many gardeners have started turning towards more natural solutions for keeping their gardens healthy and free of insect pests. Read onto and learn more about it.
Table of Contents
Here are 10 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Pests in Garden
1. Early Morning Watering
Watering plants in the early morning is recommended for several reasons. One of the main reasons for watering plants in the early morning is to assist them with photosynthesis. During the day, it is far easier for plants to absorb what they need to grow and thrive.
They can also take advantage of the sunlight while at it, making an optimal environment where photosynthesis can occur even better.
Another benefit of watering plants at the start of the day is that their foliage won’t be damp overnight. This prevents moisture from building up, creating a great environment for diseases and fungi to form and spread among your plants.
Always water directly on the soil when gardening; avoid getting direct contact with the plant’s foliage (unless it’s specifically needed). Investing in soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems also helps save water during these tasks as well as improve your garden health overall since such systems pour water where your roots need most. With a little effort, you’ll have beautiful gardens ready for admiring all season long.
2. Companion Planting
Companion planting is a proven technique for controlling garden pests without the use of chemicals. The concept is simple: some plants have beneficial natural effects on other plants, either by repelling insects or attracting predators of those insects.
For example, marigolds repel aphids and slugs, while dill attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and wasps. Planting those beneficial plants around your vegetables and flowers can be a great way to keep pests away without using chemical pesticides.
3. Attract Beneficial Insects
Beneficial insects are nature’s own pest control. Ladybugs, bees, hoverflies, lacewings, and even praying mantes are some of the most beneficial insects for your garden. These predators feed on aphids, caterpillars, and other insect pests.
To attract them to your garden, you can plant flowers that are attractive to them, such as daisies, dill, sunflowers, and alyssum. You can also buy beneficial insects from gardening centers or online stores.
4. Remove Pests by Hand
One of the most effective yet labor-intensive ways of getting rid of pests in your garden is to remove them by hand. This method requires you to inspect your plants daily and remove any caterpillars, aphids, or other insects you see. You can also use a magnifying glass or a handheld vacuum cleaner to remove small pests.
5. Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural pest control that dehydrates and kills insects. This powdery substance comprises fossilized diatoms, which are tiny aquatic organisms with sharp edges that can cut through insect exoskeletons. Sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth around your plants and act as an effective barrier against pests like aphids, slugs, and snails.
6. Use Neem Oil
Neem oil is an organic insecticide made from the seeds of the neem tree. It disrupts insects’ ability to feed on plants, eventually killing them. Neem oil also has a repellent effect that can ward off some pests like aphids and caterpillars. Make sure to use only pure neem oil, as diluted concentrations may not be effective.
7. Create Barriers
Barriers can be a great way to keep pests out of your garden. These can include fencing, screens or even mulch around the base of your plants.
Fencing is especially effective for keeping out animals like rabbits and deer, while screens are great against flying insects such as aphids and whiteflies. Mulching can help keep slugs and snails away from your plants.
8. Set Up Insect Traps
Insect traps are an excellent way to manage pests in your garden. Yellow “sticky” cards, which can be purchased at most garden centers, provide an effective solution for capturing a variety of flying insects.
When implemented and strategically placed between plants or against the shoots of growing plants, these traps can capture many unwanted bugs that might otherwise wreak havoc on delicate plantings.
The good news about using insect traps is that it also makes pest identification much easier. Gardeners don’t have to guess what kind of bug they see in their yard – they’ll have physical evidence to work with by examining the captured bugs on their sticky cards.
If you need help figuring out who belongs outdoors and who doesn’t, reach out to experts in your local area, like garden centers or county extension agents, who can help identify the helpful bugs and the ones you want to avoid.
9. Use Natural Predators
In addition to attracting beneficial insects, you can also introduce natural predators into your garden. For example, birds such as sparrows and bluebirds feed on various insect pests—including aphids, caterpillars, and grubs.
To attract these feathered friends to your garden, hang up birdhouses or put out a birdbath. You can also introduce frogs and lizards, which feed on slugs, caterpillars, and other insect pests.
10. Rotate Your Crops
Practicing crop rotation is an essential technique that helps to maintain a healthy and productive garden. Avoiding planting the same type of crops in the same place every year helps ensure that the soil remains nutrient-rich and gets replenished with vital nutrients.
Additionally, rotating crops can help keep garden pests, such as disease-causing insects, away by replacing them and removing their havens.
By varying your planting locations each season, plants have a greater chance of surviving due to increased diversity in the soil. This is particularly helpful when rotating nitrogen-depleting vegetables with those that pump nitrogen back into the ground like legumes.
Growing nitrogen-fixing crops such as peas, beans, alfalfa, and clover will not only improve soil fertility but will also provide a boost to other crops planted in the future. Moreover, you’ll be able to maximize yields while reducing fertilizer or seed costs.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
1. Can I spray vinegar on the soil?
It doesn’t take long for vinegar to break down in the soil enough to affect soil pH for more than a few days, despite its acidic nature. It’s quite likely that unintended damage will occur without knowing more about vinegar’s effects on plant tissue.
2. How often should I rotate my crops?
Generally, it is recommended that you rotate your crops every two or three years; however, this can vary depending on the size of your garden. When rotating, avoid planting the same type of crop in the same place every year to ensure that the soil remains nutrient-rich and replenished with vital nutrients.
3. Is baking soda good for gardening?
Baking soda is a great natural pesticide option for gardeners looking to keep their plants free of pests. Baking soda can be used in different ways, including as dust or mixed with water and sprayed on plants. It works by disrupting the pH balance of the bug’s exoskeleton and clogging its breathing pores, essentially suffocating them.
4. Can I spray baking soda on plants?
There is no apparent harm caused by baking soda on plants, and it may help prevent the bloom of fungal spores in some cases. Regularly applying this treatment during the spring can help reduce the incidence of powdery mildew and other foliar diseases in fruits and vegetables off the vine and stem. However, it is most effective on fruit and vegetables off the vine or stems.
5. What kills weeds permanently naturally?
A mixture of white vinegar, salt, and liquid dish soap is the most effective homemade option. Weeds are killed by a combination of these ingredients, each with unique properties. Acetic acid is present in salt and vinegar, dries out, and kills plants.
There are many ways to get rid of pests in your garden naturally. Introducing beneficial insects, birds, and other predators can help keep pests at bay. Additionally, crop rotation helps to ensure that soil remains nutrient-rich and replenished with vital nutrients. If you follow the above steps, you don’t need to worry about your garden anymore; your garden will bloom on your own.