Gardening is a hobby that many people enjoy. It feels good to grow your own herbs, flowers, vegetables, and fruits, instead of buying them.
Unfortunately, pests sometimes infest plants. If you do not deal with them, they can destroy a well-tended garden in days. Here are a few tips you can use to keep pests off your organic garden.
Protect your plants from the beginning
Many times, pest attack your plants from the garden setup stage. It's especially the case when you set up an indoor garden like in an apartment. For example;
- You could unknowingly bring in pests or their eggs into your indoor garden. For instance, pest egg could come in the soil.
- You could also bring in pests in the house from seedlings that you buy at the nursery.
- There is also a possibility of pests coming in when you fertilize, especially if you use compost from outside.
Since a garden in an apartment or house cannot afford to have any pests, you need to adopt practices that ensure you don't bring them into your home accidentally. Here are a few suggestions.
- Sterilize all the equipment you use when taking care of your garden. For example, ensure the pots you use are clean, especially if you are using recycled items such as old containers.
- Consider using compost tea or liquid fertilizer. That will reduce the chances of bringing harmful pests into your indoor garden from the compost heap.
- When you bring seedlings home from outside set them aside and monitor them. Incase the seedlings have pests, treat them before you put them together with the healthy plants.
- The same applies to pest-infested plants in your already established garden. Always put them away from the healthy plants as you treat them until they are free of pests.
- Use fresh potting soil for your indoor apartment garden. If you have a bag that has been standing open for some time, use it for plants outside as it may have pests in it.
If you follow these suggestions, especially when setting up an indoor apartment garden, you will have little to no issues with pests.
2. Treat pest infestations immediately
However, in the case of any pest attacks, you must get rid of the pests fast to maintain a healthy garden. Therefore, you need to inspect the plants in your indoor garden regularly to check for signs of pests.
Here are some things to look out for;
- Plant damage such as leaves chewed at the edges
- Dead pests or their droppings around or on your plants
- Large holes in leaves
- Leaves curling up and falling off
- Trails of slime on leaves.
3. Use natural insecticide
Once you notice pests or signs they are hanging around your plants, start dealing with them immediately. A quick way to do this is by using a homemade insecticide.
Dishwashing soap is used in many homemade pest sprays. We recommend you use non- toxic, cruelty - free soap products in your pest spray mixture. The ingredients in non - natural soaps are harmful to us in many ways, as you will see here.
If you are planting herbs or veggies, you will end up eating the produce, and you don't want to expose yourself to toxins. Using organic and natural soap will keep you and your family safe.
Here are several safe homemade insecticides you can make to keep pests off your organic garden.
Put some cayenne pepper and a few drops of organic dishwashing soap in a spray bottle with water. Spray the pepper mixture over leaves or at the base of plants where you see some pest attacks.
Apart from its strong smell, garlic has powerful properties that deter pests. Make a garlic spray for your garden by crushing a few bulbs and mixing them with a few drops of natural or organic dishwashing soap and water.
Neem oil spray
Neem is a foul-smelling oil. That's great because pest can't stand it. It is especially effective against pest larvae. Put a few drops of neem oil in water and spray it over your plants and pests will keep off.
4. Set up a natural pest barrier
It's also good to set up preventative measures against pests to reduce the chance of them attacking your garden in the future. That means putting up natural barriers to keep the pest away.
One effective way to set up a natural barrier against pests is to plant things in your garden that they hate. There are several harmless plants that various pests cannot stand. These are;
- Dill: Dill is an excellent deterrent of mosquitoes and flies. Plant it in between your plants or around them to act as an effective border against these pests.
- Pyrethrum: Pyrethrum is often an ingredient in many commercial insecticides. Planting it in your garden will keep away leaf hopping insects and mites among other pests.
- Catnip: Catnip is hated by insects such as aphids, beetles, and squash bugs, among others. Plant it within and around your garden to chase bugs. You can also sprinkle dry catnip at the base of plants to deter pests.
- Garlic: Garlic plants are a powerful weapon against aphids, Japanese beetles, snails and moths among other pests. A great bonus is that you never have to buy garlic for your meals once it thrives in your garden.
- Lavender: Lavender looks good, smells great, and also chases away many pests. Including lavender in your garden will keep away moths and fleas among other pests and spread a calming fragrance throughout your garden.
- Onions: The stink of onions puts off pests such as aphids. If you love color, plant ornamental onions to add some beauty as you fight pests.
- Basil: Plant basil in between you plants to keep away pests. It is especially useful in veggie gardens.
5. Bring in support
Nature always has solutions to many problems that we face. When it comes to pest control in organic gardens, some insects will get rid of pests if only they find their way to your garden.
An effective way to attract beneficial insects to your organic garden is by planting things they like. Some great examples of plants that pest-fighting insects love are cosmos, marigold, yarrow, fennel, and sunflowers.
Beneficial plants will attract pest-fighting insects such as ladybugs to your garden that are capable of munching on numerous aphids, mealy bugs, mites, and other soft-bodied pests in a day.
Some of these beneficial plants, such as marigold also send out smells that keep off pests.
6. Get rid of pest habitats
You may practice all the above natural pest prevention tips, but if there are cozy habitats around or in your home where pests can hang out, the problem will recur. So;
- Clear bushes and shrubs around the house that act as a habitat for some pests
- Clean up areas in and around your home where there are collections of junk or garbage. Where there is dirt, you will find one or two pests.
- Make your garden area a place that is airy with access to light. A dunk, dark place, is an ideal place for pests to make a home.
- Get rid of infected plants: Once a plant is severely infested by pests, it will act as their habitat as they migrate to other plants. So, pull out plants that are beyond saving to avoid such incidents.
- Strengthen your plants: Weak plants will always be an ideal habitat for pests. Cultivate healthy plants by using good soil, fertilizer, and other measures outlined in this guide, to grow plants that are strong enough to fight off pest attacks.
These are tips you can use to keep pests away from your organic garden. They will work whether you have an outdoor garden, a window box garden, or and an indoor garden. Try them and watch your pest problem become a thing of the past.