How To Naturally Fight Off Garden Pests

Categories: Green

The more we discover about synthetic pesticides, herbicides and insecticides the more we learn how unhealthy they are for the environment and the people and animals that live in it. Pesticides can create more problems than they solve.

Spraying garden chemicals to get rid of bugs and weeds not only cause health risks, they often aren’t even that effective. Initially, they will kill off a lot of pests, but eventually these pests can develop resistance to the pesticide and come back even stronger. Another problem is the side effects many synthetic pesticides can have on unintended targets (think of DDT and birds).

The best plan is to avoid the need to use pest control in the first place by starting with healthy fertile soil, matching your plants to the soil type, ensuring proper sunlight levels and watering conditions, and using appropriate organic fertilization and pruning, when necessary. But, if that doesn’t work there are many alternatives to chemical pesticides that can reduce pests while leaving a healthy environment for your plants, pets and family.

Summer brings with it some of our favorite garden vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, to name just a few. But summer also brings some of the garden’s most notorious pests whom, if  left out of control, will devour those vegetables before they have a chance to make it to our table. Today I’m sharing a few of the pests we’ve encountered the most often in our zone 6b garden, and what’s worked for us to combat them naturally.

Much of this post is dedicated to methods of cultural control; meaning the surrounding environment is “tweaked” in order to avoid pests.  This is accomplished through companion planting, physically removing the pests either by hand or by a forceful stream of water, introducing a natural predator, or by crop rotation.

Sometimes however, those methods don’t work well enough and as gardeners we have to  make a decision to either lose the crop, or take a further step at controlling the pest.  This further step usually involves a pesticide of some sort.

As a strong believer in natural gardening, I do not recommend conventional pesticides. However, as a natural gardener who is trying to earn an income from my crops, I will sometimes consider organic sprays under certain conditions. I’m including those in this post as well, along with cautions (if any) that should be taken.

Please remember: Never assume that just because a spray is marked “organic”  it is safe for you, your pets, or for other beneficial insects you’d really like to have around. Always, always, always read the label and follow the instructions to the letter.

Found via TraditionalCookingSchool


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