Presented by Jenny Peterson for Kellogg Garden Organics
If you garden long enough, you’ll eventually come across some unsavory bugs in your garden that you’d prefer not stay. If you’re committed to organic practices and don’t want to use synthetic pesticides, you may not know your options.
No worries, though — organic pest control is easier than you may think, and sometimes it’s even free.
6 Ways to RID Your garden of Pests Organically:
- Know the good bugs from the bad ones. Not all garden bugs are bad — in fact, some are good, and you want them in your garden. Destructive bugs include slugs, squash bugs, squash vine borers, aphids, cutworms and cabbage worms. Good bugs include ladybugs, praying mantis, ground beetles, lacewings, soldier beetles and damsel bugs.
- Invite the good guys to your garden. Beneficial bugs love a wide variety of flowering perennials and herbs, so lure them in with plants and flowers such as white clover, fennel, dill, cosmos, coreopsis, sweet alyssum and yarrow.
- Practice crop rotation. Crop rotation is the systematic practice of deciding what to plant in particular areas of your garden from one season to the next. This practice aids in soil fertility, and pest and disease resistance. The Colorado potato beetle, for example, likes potato plants, tomatoes and eggplant — so planting eggplant in the same spot in your garden where you previously had potatoes is inviting a pest problem right in. Better to move your tomatoes and eggplant to another garden area.
- Get chickens or ducks. Chickens and ducks are amazing pest control warriors, gobbling up slugs and Japanese beetles that can create a lot of havoc in the garden. However, both animals can also peck at your plants and scratch up the soil, so it’s best if you are on hand to guide them in their pest control ways.
- Remove the pests. Some large bugs like squash vine borers can be easily removed by hand, while others are dislodged with a hard spray of water. If you have chickens or ducks and don’t want them in the garden itself, the bugs make a tasty treat for them when thrown over the fence.
- Use organic pesticides. If you’re really having a problem and need to use a product, there are many organic pesticides that do the trick. From granular products to sprays, baits, and sticky “glues,” there is a product for every problem out there. To be sure you are purchasing a product that is verified organic, look for “OMRI” on the label — this tells you that the product lives up to the strict organic standards of the Organic Materials Review Institution.