Welcome back to another gardening blog post here at Roots and Arrows Homestead.
I am so glad you’re here!
Today’s post is going to be a good one! If you’re here, you are likely gearing up your garden for the upcoming season. I know I have been busy, busy getting those seeds in the ground over the past few months. This post is going to focus in on how we, as organic gardeners, can prevent or control the pests we will inevitably encounter in our gardens this year.
I have been reading a lot in Jessica Sowards book, The First Time Gardener, over the past few weeks and listening to a lot of her podcasts and videos on the subject. So, I wanted to sit down a write this post for a couple of reasons. One, I didn’t know about a lot of these methods before reading her book. And two, I want to share knowledge in this space when I come across it for those of you out there who may also not know.
ORGANIC PEST MANAGEMENT 101 FROM JESS @ Roots and Refuge Farm –
When we think about growing our own food, the main idea that comes to mind for most of us is health. Growing our own food is healthier. Well, if we turn around and spray our gardens down with chemicals and poisons that could harm us if ingested then isn’t that kind of going the opposite direction of health?
Through my reading and other resources, I have had my eyes opened (so to speak) to the numerous ways in which we can prevent “unfriendly” bugs from eating our plants. Remember, while protecting your crop is important, it is also important to maintain a seemingly balanced relationship with the “friendly” bugs that you welcome, or at least allow, into your garden. My hope is that the tips below will help you do just that.
One of the most down-to-earth or “nitty-gritty” parts of garden management is to simply hand-pick those pests and pest eggs off and drop them in a cup of soapy water. This is by no means the quickest or most glamorous way of doing things, but it may be the most “organic”. This is one of the methods that will keep you in the garden, make you pay close attention, and jump into action right when you see a problem. Critters are high on the list of things that I am just learning to get used to and live with on this organic gardening journey. So, more power to YOU if you chose this method as your one-and-only!
Something I actually learned from my grandfather, which Jess also mentions in her book, is SOAP. I remember, when I was younger, my grandfather would wash up some dishes then take that soapy water out to the garden. I wasn’t always sure what he was doing, but eventually I learned. It was because earlier that morning, he had seen some kind of pest eating away at his garden.
Neem oil works for pest control from a more prevention standpoint. Be sure to purchase it as 100% cold-pressed neem oil. The active agents in neem oil work as repellents and suppressants, discouraging insects from feeding on plants. If insects eat on neem covered plants, their quality of life and mating patterns are significantly impacted. The idea behind neem oil, long-term, is to interrupt the life cycle of pests so the numbers will be drastically reduced with continuous use.
Other preventative measures that I have heard of for pests include broken up eggshells near the base of the plants, coffee grounds sprinkled in the garden, and cayenne pepper lightly sprinkled around the base.
This is one that I have heard about not only from Jess’s book, but also many other home gardeners on YouTube have talked about using this to control the influence that pests have in their gardens.
Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized remains of a hard-shelled organism called diatoms. It is a white powder and is one of the most popular forms of organic pest control. It affects the outer skeletal layer of insects and causes them to dehydrate. This works best with some sort of duster and be sure to wear some sort of face covering when applying this as it is very dusty. Best applied in the evenings and after each rainfall.
MI GARDENER VIDEO –
This is also known as “Bt”, and it is a naturally occurring bacteria that is found in soil. This treatment will get rid of caterpillars when they eat it. It is best sprayed in the early morning or early evenings when they are most actively feeding. This needs to be mixed with water, and because it is living bacteria, the water you mix it with matters. It is best to use distilled water instead of the harder tap water. Hard water is alkaline and can kill the bacteria, rendering it ineffective for pest control.
MI GARDENER VIDEO –
There you have it.
These are 5 ways that you can prevent or treat pests in your garden effectively and naturally this year. As mentioned before, I learned a lot of this information from Jessica Sowards, both from her YouTube videos as well as her book, The First Time Gardener, She shares so much more information in those pages, I highly encourage you to check it out!
Thank you again so much for being here.
Till next time,
P.S.- One pest that might slip past you is the Hornworm. These pests are green and can easily camouflage themselves on your plants leaves. If you have a black light (I’ve linked one below), use it after the sun goes down and you’ll be able to get those hornworms while they’re still small.
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FIND THE PRODUCTS MENTIONED IN THIS POST OVER ON AMAZON!
I am a USA and UK Amazon affiliate (or associate) and if you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!
Thank you so much,
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