There are a number of natural garden pest control options on the markets. This is a really good thing considering pesticides are one of the leading causes of run-off pollution. They have also been said to cause cancer and a variety of other health problems when ingested. You can help keep you and your family safe by using only the best natural pest control in the garden.
Natural Garden Pest Control
Natural pesticides are a safer alternative to their chemical counterparts. Often derived naturally from plants and trees, natural pesticides generally have fewer negative side effects and are non-toxic for humans to consume. Some natural pesticides, such as crop rotation, don’t require you to put anything on your plants at all. If you’re gardening because you’re concerned about the food going in your body, this may be for you. Read on for a few different types.
1. Neem Oil
A derivative of the seed of the Azadirachta Indica tree, neem oil has been used as a natural pesticide for many years. There are some things to consider prior to applying neem oil in your garden. It can kill some plants in higher doses, so before applying on a wide scale first test the neem oil on a small spot of each type of plant in your garden. It can also burn the plant if applied in too high of a dosage or during times of direct sunlight. To prevent this, follow the dosage directions on the bottle and apply neem oil in the evening when the sun starts to set. Neem oil is generally considered safe and non-toxic to eat in small doses.
2. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is made of ground up fossils. When applied around a plant, insects walk over the Diatomaceous Earth and the substance causes dozens of micro cuts on the insect’s body. This causes the insect to die of dehydration. Diatomaceous Earth can be applied around the base of a plant or mixed with water and sprayed directly onto the plant itself. You probably don’t want to eat it, though, so be sure to rinse your fruits or veggies thoroughly.
3. Horticultural Oil
You can use either summer oil or a dormant oil, preferably one that is vegetable based. Summer oils are used when there are still leaves on trees, as they are safe for plants. Dormant oils are meant to kill off any bugs that may be lying dormant over the winter and are best applied after the leaves have fallen from the trees.
Just as with neem oil, be sure to test your summer or dormant oil on a small spot of the plant prior to applying it to the entire thing. Also never apply in direct sunlight– wait until the evening.
The simplest natural method of pest control is just picking the bugs off the plants. This can be time-consuming, but it involves no risk to your plants and zero chemicals. One trick is to use a shop-vac with a small hose to gently suck up any bugs on a plant– this method is a little faster, although some delicate plants may not be able to withstand the force of the vacuum hose.
5. Companion Planting
Companion planting is another risk-free method of natural insect control is companion planting. This one involves some planning prior to gardening season, as you need to find plants that can help protect other plants. For example, if you want to grow good tomatoes, grow some basil next to the tomato plants. The basil helps to drive away mosquitos and flies. Likewise, if you grow potatoes near the tomatoes, you run the risk of rotting disease spreading from potatoes to the tomatoes– keep those two plants away from each other.
There are many natural ways to protect your plants from pests. You don’t need harsh chemicals to have a beautiful garden.