As people come to realize the importance of sustainable agriculture, the issue of organic pest control is only one part of organic gardening that comes to the fore. Sustainable gardening is a whole system and does not only apply to one facet such as fertilization, as many may be inclined to believe. For example, using organic fertilization methods but spraying synthetic pesticides for pest control on your plants is not organic gardening. You have to consider all aspects of your gardening, including composting, fertilization, pest control, weed control, even down to the seeds and the origin of the plants you buy.
I’m sure you know the saying that prevention is better than cure? That also applies to pest control. One of the simplest ways of avoiding insect damage to your plants is by preventing infestation in the first place. Just as a healthy body effectively fights against illnesses, so does a healthy plant. So the first thing that you need to look into is how to keep your garden healthy.
Organic Pest Control
Here are some of the basic gardening habits that could help in keeping your garden vibrant:
1. Organic Pest Control – it all starts with the soil
Make sure that your soil is healthy and in good condition. A healthy garden is largely dependent on the condition of the soil used and a healthy plant can certainly withstand diseases. If your soil is less than perfect, work natural organic compost into it to improve its condition, instead of applying synthetic soil conditioners. Your kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels are very good sources of natural composting materials. Remember, a healthy soil is your first step to effective organic pest control.
2. Pull out weak plants immediately
Weak plants are most likely infested or are too weak to fight the infection. They are also very attractive to pests. When you see them in your garden, pull them out immediately before they affect the other plants. If they are diseased, do not put them in with your compost either.
3. Keep your garden clean
Another simple way of organic pest control is to keep your garden clean to discourage insects to thrive. Weed and remove all rubbish. You will not only prevent the bad bugs from spreading, you will have a more beautiful outlook on your yard.
4. Water your plants early in the morning
If you do not have a drip-irrigation system where water is directed into the root system, then it is best to water your plants early in the morning so that your plants’ leaves stays dry throughout the rest of the day. Insects and fungi like to propagate on wet foliage.
Watering your plants in the morning also helps with slug and snail control, as these pests love coming out at night when your garden is wet. If you water in the morning, your garden will be much drier by the time night comes around.
Mulch is a layer of material applied to the ground in order to conserve soil moisture, to inhibit the growth of weeds, to enhance soil health and fertility. More than that however, mulch can also help to control plant pests, like what seaweed mulch can do to slugs.
6. Practice crop rotation
Certain insects attack specific plants. Mixing different plants in your garden will prevent these insects from destroying your whole crop. Also when you rotate your plants, you discourage these insects to breed. Different plants also have different nutritional requirements. By moving plants around your garden season after season, it ensures that specific areas recover and do not become too depleted of their vital nutrients, allowing you to grow healthy and strong plats, able to withstand attacks from pests. Crop rotation can bean effective method of organic pest control.
7. Disinfect your tools
When you are working with infected plants, make it a practice to disinfect your tools before moving on to the healthy ones. Better yet, use separate tools for your sick plants to prevent the spread of disease and contamination. But even then, you still have to disinfect your tools every time you use them.
When your plants are already infested, you can always use homemade pesticides. Here are two of the most easy to follow organic pest control methods using organic pesticides:
1. Onion-Garlic-Pepper Spray
Just mince a bulb of onion and a clove of garlic, add to a quart of water with a tablespoon of organic liquid soap, add pepper powder and voila! You now have a very potent spray for bugs for your citrus plants as well as other leafy vegetables.
2. Orange Citrus Oil, Soap and Water
This is one of the organic pesticides that are easiest to make. You will need a gallon of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid organic castile soap and an ounce of orange oil. Mix them together and shake well. You now have an effective treatment against slugs, ants, and roaches.
You might be pleasantly surprised to find a ton of information in the internet on how to make and use home-made organic pesticides. Different bugs and diseases require different treatments, but a little effort to find the right solution means that you can practice sustainable agriculture in your own back yard without too much extra effort. So start your organic garden now and make sure to employ only organic pest control methods in your yard.