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Organic Pest Control: Your Garden solution!



As avid gardeners, we understand that critters are an integral part of the ecosystem, contributing to the delicate web of life. In many cases, they even provide symbiotic relationships that benefit our plants. However, we also know that certain critters can become a nuisance, threatening the health and productivity of our gardens. From pesky rodents and relentless bugs like army worms and grasshoppers to our beloved pets like cats, dogs, and chickens, we delve into organic approaches to tackle these challenges head-on.


Let's embrace the beauty of nature while cultivating flourishing, pest-resistant landscapes.

 

Your options:



Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth is a white powder made of finely pulverized rock. I buy food grade quality DE, which I've used in homemade toothpaste and as an ingredient in my carpet refresher. Diatomaceous Earth works to deter pests from crawling on or around plants, as well as eating them. To insects, it feels like rocks rubbing against their body. This powder can do a lot of damage to the insect overtime. Though it's not clear whether DE is harmful to the bees I keep this powder away from the flowers of my plants. DE is also used on chickens and other animals for fleas and ticks.



Garlic Pepper Spray

This is an easy to make spray, made with whole garlic cloves and whatever hot pepper you have on hand. I make it very strong, with just enough water to cover the contents. Cut indentations into the peppers or cut them in half to make sure the seeds, which carry most of the spice, will make contact with the water. The smell will be enough to deter most pests, and the hot peppers will discourage them from eating your plants.




Neem

Neem works for critters who eat your plants leaves, the only drawback is that you need to wait a couple of days before you eat them. Buy your own concentrate or oil and dilute it with water.








Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT)

BT is an organic bacterium that is harmful to caterpillars. Unlike neem, the leaves are fine for consumption soon after spraying. The bacteria destroy the worms from the inside out, unfortunately that means dead caterpillars and plant-eating worms will be left behind. Buy your own concentrate and dilute it with water, as this is the most cost-efficient option.




Beneficial Insects

One of the simplest methods of prevention is introducing or encouraging the habitation of predatory insects. I found that every year I grew zucchini, my praying mantis friend would return. Ladybugs, predatory wasps, “lightning” bugs and many other insects can naturally keep down the population of garden pests. Some beneficial insects can even be purchased online.






 

The Pests





Rabbits

Rabbits, a common (and cute) pest that can easily be repelled with hair from humans or other animals. The hair symbolizes that the territory is claimed by a potential predator. Use human hair collected from a hairbrush or pet hair if you have some after a recent groom.



Squirrels

Personally, the squirrels in my garden aren’t much of an issue. They only dig in beds that look empty and may possibly eat some of my seeds. To discourage them, I use collapsible row covers over my garden until my plants have sprouted. To cover your fruit, use mesh garden covers.



Moles or Voles

These underground rodents can be a real hassle. Try sprinkling chili or cayenne powder around the garden. This might also work for ants.




Cats

Cats are actually a big pest in my garden, so much so that it deterred me from growing Catnip. If it becomes a problem in yours, you might consider pouring ammonia around the parts of your yard that they frequent. I have also seen pothers place plastic forks inside of pots being used to deter them from walking in certain areas.









Dogs

I haven’t experienced this issue but putting a small fence around the area should help.



Birds

Birds (or squirrels) eating your seeds or fruit? Protect your crops with shade cloth or mesh.




Chickens

Chickens can be beneficial when soil needs to be worked. They will get in there and loosen it up for you. Unfortunately, they will cause damage to plants by digging them up and by eating them. I once harvested a watermelon after watching it for days and found they had eaten it by making a tiny hole in the side. That same summer they ate my cucumbers before eating the whole plant! Once you have food that you want to protect, fence in the area. Even a small barrier can help but if they are really determined, the water hose will send them running!





Creating pest-resistant gardens requires a balanced approach that respects the delicate ecosystem while protecting our cherished plants. By incorporating organic remedies like diatomaceous earth, garlic pepper spray, neem, and BT, we can deter pests without resorting to harmful chemicals. Additionally, encouraging the presence of beneficial insects and using natural deterrents for specific pests such as rabbits, squirrels, moles, voles, cats, dogs, birds, and chickens can help us maintain a harmonious coexistence. Let us embrace the wonders of nature as we cultivate flourishing landscapes, ensuring a thriving garden that is both resilient and inviting. By employing these organic methods, we can foster a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to pest management, allowing us to enjoy the beauty and abundance of our gardens while preserving the delicate balance of the natural world.




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