Growing your own vegetables is a fun, rewarding hobby. One of the most challenging parts of growing your own vegetables can be keeping bugs out of your garden. If you are wary of using pesticides in your vegetable garden, here are some chemical-free pest control options.
The most basic method of chemical-free pest control in gardening is known as pest picking, and it is exactly what it sounds like!
- Take a bucket with a some soapy water at the bottom out to the garden with you. Pick any bugs you find off of your plants and drop them into the bucket to kill them and ensure they won’t be returning to visit your tomatoes again.
- If you are heading out to the garden to hunt for bugs to get rid of, you will have the best luck during the times of day when insects are most active. Try to do your pest hunting in the early morning or later in the evening for the best results.
- There are some insects that are beneficial to your garden, including ladybugs and praying mantises. If you find any of these friendly bugs in your garden, leave them be! They can make more of a difference than you may realize.
- Some people even go so far as to purchase such “good” bugs and let them loose in their gardens as a means of controlling other, harmful pests.
Chemical-free insect repellents are a wonderful alternative to pesticides, offering many of the same benefits without the nasty health drawbacks.
- One of the most common methods of keeping veggies bug-free is actually using soap! Most garden supply stores carry organic soaps that contain insect repellents. This method is particularly effective in defending against aphids and spider mites.
- Some repellents are ready-to-use and others are concentrated, so be sure to read the label before applying.
- Spray the insect repellent soap on the leaves, stems, and flowers of your plants. Be sure to cover them completely.
- Some plants, like garlic, onions, and marigolds, repel insects naturally. Add some of these types of plants throughout your garden and they will help keep insects off of nearby plants as well.
One sure-fire way to keep the bugs away is to put up a barrier that denies them access to your precious plants!
- To protect against cutworms, try using a coffee can. Cut both ends off of it so it is a tube and press it into the soil around your plant to protect the roots.
- Use fine netting, such as mosquito netting, to create a tent around particularly vulnerable plants to keep even the smallest pests at bay.
Remember that these solutions are not absolute; different pests, different plants, and different growing conditions are all variables that will require the use of different combinations of methods. Try different things and experiment until you find what works for your situation. Gardening without chemicals requires a little more work and creativity, but the results will be well worth it!