Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dealing With Pests In An Organic Garden

By Evan Grant

The biggest problem organic gardeners face is dealing with pests. An infestation of aphids or cutworms can absolutely devastate a garden! You can have an entire row of plants wiped out in days, or even hours.

It's important to try to prevent infestations, rather than just treating them once they occur. To do this, spray your plants with solutions that deter common garden pests.

There are many organic solutions available, but you can make your own by using recipes that can be found in most organic gardening books. Most of them are similar to tea and made of garlic and hot pepper.

Planting species native to the are in which you live is also something you can do. Natural immunity to common diseases in the area is what these plants will have. Unlike other varieties, pest-resistant plants won't have many problems with pests.

If you plant early enough, you may be able to avoid the worst part of the bug season. Insects have just a short period of each year in which they will be active and eating your plants. You may be able to harvest before the insects terrorize your plants if you plant early.

Ladybugs, ground beetles, praying mantis, and birds are natural insect predators and you should do everything you can to encourage them. Some types of plants like mint and rosemary can attract many beneficial bugs that can help you keep other insects under control.

Before potential problems get out of control, try keeping a close eye. Pluck off any hornworm on your tomatoes and drown it in soapy water. Before these problems become too difficult to handle, watch your plants daily so you have a chance stop these problems.

To try to identify the pest you're having trouble with, take pictures. If you want to search for it, you can go online. If you can't identify it, you can take your pictures to your local county extension office or library and ask for help identifying it.

When you've identified the pest, you can ask for advice on how to control it at your extension office. Ask them if they have any ideas for you and mention that you're an organic gardener.

You may be able to prevent some pests by installing netting over your plants. Although this is probably a last resort, you may be able to save your plants from utter devastation if you have a particularly bad season of beetles or other such bugs.

Just remember, netting will also prevent beneficial insects from reaching your plants, so if some pests make it through, it may be harder to detect them and for predator insects to control them.

A very difficult part of organic gardening is pest control.

You may be tempted to abandon organic gardening and use chemical spray if you lose a crop to insects. This is experienced by a lot of organic gardeners. Don't feel bad. Dealing with pests can be very frustrating especially when you worked hard taking care of your plants.

But going through all of the extra work is worth it since organic gardening has so many benefits. Healthy food that's safe to eat will be the reward for you and your family.

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