Organic Pest Control

Natural Pest ControlAn organic garden that has had time to establish itself should be able to thrive without the use of man made chemicals to aid in controlling unwanted garden pests. What you plant and how you plant it will determine what is needed to help with an organic pest control regime if any.

This article will cover some organic pest control methods for a few of the most common garden pests.

There are companion plants that can be added to the organic garden to deter unwanted garden pests and lure others. By adding companion plants, especially colorful flowers that flow in the wind attract bees for example.

Adding flowers to the organic garden that will attract wildlife can simply be in pots and placed strategically. Marigolds however would best benefit the organic garden by putting straight into the ground since the roots of these particular annual flowers are said to deter unwanted pests that live beneath the surface of the soil.

A small dish, with a few stones then topped with water and placed into the organic garden or installing a small water feature can encourage wildlife to set up shop. With all the comforts of home, why would they want to go anywhere else?

The birds, bee’s and butterflies will swarm to your organic garden that has a variety of colorful, pollen filled flowers along with a source of water for them too.

Sacrificial planting is a great way to deter wildlife from your prize crops. At the end of the growing season, certain crops that were sown may remain so to retain seed head for the birds to forage on. t the end of the growing season, certain crops that were sown may remain so to allow the birds to forage on the seed heads. I always grow extra black oil sunflowers for this reason.

When you look from afar into your organic garden and see robins pecking away at your seedlings or having a nice lunch at the cost of your lovely strawberry patch, some may wonder why would we want to encourage wildlife into our garden?

As a long time gardener, I have learned ways to keep my crops protected. For example, the strawberry patch is lined from corner to corner and up the rows with small sticks for which hold the deer netting that I place over the whole crop thus keeping the robins from being able to peck away at the plump juicy fruit.

The biggest problem I have had in the past is cats in the garden. Sure I’ve tried the orange peels, cayenne pepper, even cinnamon that has to be continually applied. In my experience, fencing is the best way to deter cats from entering the garden at all. Stops them dead in their tracks and is a one off. 

Since in our region we have a hungry deer population, our organic garden is fenced with seven foot wire. The cats can still find their way in so I run a short two foot tall piece of chicken wire along the fence line, for as long as it takes. This way the cats can no longer just walk thru the opening of the squares in the fencing. I have also secured both sides of the garden gate so that the cats can’t walk through there either.

The only way to deter deer is fencing period. Anything else is a waste of time and effort.It is said that running a single line of anything white will also stop deer. I have tried this around the outer perimeter of the organic garden, simply in effort to just keep deer out of the yard. In some cases it has worked. Apparently deer wont cross anything white.

One risky option that I do use but isn’t 100% deer proof is plant wallflowers on the perimeter. Deer do not seem to like wallflowers. Any pungent herbs like curry plant, rosemary is also a good deterrent. Designing and installing green fencing is another option that I have used and does work simply because then the deer can’t get through. Dependent on the size of your area this could become a huge undertaking that requires a lot of plant material. Using big pots planted with bulky tall material proves useful to close up any gaps.

I have seen the motion sensor water sprinklers but haven’t bothered to use them. When I see avid gardeners getting rid of their motion sensor sprinklers in place of fencing I feel that’s the conclusion to that story.

I’ve been told that if I put water out for the deer, that they will leave the gardens in the yard alone. Has anyone ever tried this? I haven’t. My aim is to secure the entire perimeter. 

Lastly, if you build up your soil over time and can take season after season, your plants will thrive. A healthy plant is less susceptible to pest infestations.

Aphids can simply be hosed off. No need to use anything else really.

If and when blight or wilt becomes a problem, the best thing to do is to destroy the crop by pulling and burning. Never put disease plant material into your green compost. If and only when you have tried all else and may still encounter a problem with say a fungus should a all natural homemade fungicide be applied at regular intervals until the problem clears itself.

When choosing plants for your organic vegetable and flower gardens, look for those that are bred to be disease resistant.

Roses for example, are not all disease resistant unfortunately. I have a few that no matter what do appear to get black spot.
The recommended routine is to rake away all fallen leaves in the late fall or early spring and burn. Do not put fallen rose leaves into the green compost.

Just as things begin to bud I use a homemade natural fungicide spray to apply to the rose bushes that I know are susceptible to black spot. Usually this is done early morning, once the dew begins to disappear and before the sun comes around. Never spray when sun is on the bush. Spray top and bottom of all buds leafing out, the stalks as well as around the base of the bush. I will do this a couple times at seven day intervals then just keep watch. I also do this to the lilacs with a slight alteration to my recipe. The idea for the roses is to create an environment that fungus won’t grow.

As for the lilacs, the reason is to smother any leaf miners who have over wintered.

For miniature ornamental rose bushes I have tried skim milk diluted a bit with water and applied by spray to control powder mildew. Was something I read somewhere way back. We kept the potted bushes out of direct sunlight until it dried off naturally. It worked.

Tops dress the rose bushes with decent top soil, mixed with organic fertilizer additions. This can be from your nicely broken down compost material or worm castings. Then mulch.

Reports show that this has slowed and even stopped black spot on rose bushes that otherwise became inundated. When watering rose bushes, drip line is best practice. Never use overhead. If hand watering, be gentle as to not let the water hitting the ground at the base splash up onto the bush. Again if the rose bush gets attacked by aphids simply wait for an overcast day or on an early morning, simply just use the hose to spray them off.

Planting companion plants in your organic garden, building up the soil over time and attracting beneficial insects to do the work for you is the best natural organic pest control so to not need even organic sprays to control pesky infestations.