Just like all ventures that require capital and human input, organic gardening has its fair share of demotivating challenges. They include; balancing soil nutrients as your crops grow, climatic complications, proper watering and pests’ infestation just to mention a few. But, this post will focus on pest control and prevention when practicing organic gardening.
Organic gardening might seem challenging if you were used to conventional gardening where you buy different chemical pesticides and spray your crops to prevent pest infestation. Organic farming eliminates the need and use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. The idea is to grow your crops as naturally as possible.
Pest control and prevention
Companion plants are plants that release natural properties that are necessary for other plants to grow effectively without pest infestation. Based on your areas native crops ensure that you embrace companion planting when starting your organic garden. Common companion plants include;
- Basil and Tomatoes: basil repels mosquitoes, offers a great aroma and improves flavor and production when planted with tomatoes and pepper.
- Dill: Dill does best when planted with cucumbers and cabbages. It repels pests and improves crop flavors.
- Onions: onions are versatile in that, they can be grown with most crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, strawberries and cabbages among others. Intercropping with onions reduces garden pests greatly.
- Marigolds: just like onions, marigolds can be planted throughout the garden to prevent nematodes and repels pests. Their flowers offer a visual appeal in your garden and flower all summer if you pull off dead flowers on time.
Natural pest control methods
There are stubborn pests that will not be deterred by companion planting. This is where natural pest control strategies come in handy. They entail making natural solutions that are sprayed on crops instead of the regular chemical pesticides.
- A powdered kelp solution deters Aphids and Japanese beetles. For effective results and to nourish plants, spray it before the pests take root.
- Hot pepper and garlic spray repels most garden pests, is inexpensive and not harmful to you when making or using it. Spray it once per week during infestation.
- Baking soda and water solution eliminates powdery mildew on plants and prevents the growth of fungus. It can be sprayed to prevent or treat pest related complications.
- Powdered Diatomaceous earth is an effective insect treatment and prevention for most pests. However, it kills indiscriminately so should be used with extreme care. It is advisable to spray it once you notice larvae on your crops and should be reapplied after raining or watering your crops.
- Natural fertilizing
Poor quality soil can attract opportunistic pests. Hence the need for good planting practices, companion planting and proper organic fertilizing. So, if your soil is poor, you need natural fertilizer supplements like kelp tea that nourishes crops if sprayed on leaves or sprinkling the powder around your target crops. Dry nettle tea leaves can be added to garden soil as a supplement or added to your composting bin. The fish emulsion may smell awful but is beneficial to plants especially tomatoes.
When you make the decision to grow your crops organically, you must refrain from using any conventional gardening methods to address gardening challenges. This includes pest control methods. If faced with a severe pest infestation problem, consider seeking advice from your local organic gardening store or organic gardening experts within your reach.