Organic Vegetable Gardening With Pesticides Organic Vegetable Gardening With Pesticides

Pests can ruin everything you hope to achieve with your organic vegetable garden. Like humans, pests like to eat fresh, healthy veggies, too. But there are ways to maintain your garden and keep the pests away without compromising the organic growing methods you've decided to use. Here's several tactics on how to combat specific pests without compromising the integrity of your organic garden.

Slugs

A slug on a green leaf in an organic vegetable garden.

Slugs are one of the biggest problems in any garden, and many home remedies don't get rid of all the slugs you see wriggling around in your veggie beds. Try sprinkling crushed eggshells around the perimeter of your garden to keep the slugs away. This natural pesticide works most of the time. And when it doesn't work all the time, you can always employ an even bigger animal to eat the slugs. If you're not opposed to adopting an outdoor pet, get a duck or two. Ducks gobble up slugs without being asked, and will totally control these garden pests for you. If you have an outdoor pond or water feature, a duck can make a happy home here while keeping your garden healthier.

Aphids

Aphids are the bane of many gardeners. They love vegetable gardens as much as you do, and they eat everything from buds and foliage to plant stems. Defeat plant-eating aphids by planting tings they hate near your vegetable beds. Sweet alyssum naturally keeps aphids away from your garden, and they're pretty. Along with sweet alyssum, zinnias, cosmos, and borage attract hoverflies, which will eat aphids (and not your plants). As a bonus, the flowers will add pops of color to your garden.

Squash Bugs

A squash bug on a plant in an organic garden.

Are squash bugs eating your crop before you get to enjoy it? Squash bugs are named for the plant they like to attack, which is a problem because squash is a tasty garden treat. The best way to prevent these bugs is by altering your planting schedule. Wait until early summer before you plant your squash, and when you do, use row covers to protect your young plants. Check over your squash plants frequently, and remove bugs and egg clusters by hand as soon as you see them for organic pest control.

Fight Fire With Fire

Many people don't realize that tomato plants are members of the poisonous nightshade family. That means ordinary garden tomatoes do have some toxic properties—at least, they can be toxic to pests. Harvest leaves from your tomato plants and turn them into a pest-killing spray. Simply chop up two cups of fresh tomato leaves, which you should pluck from the bottom half of your plants, and let them soak overnight in four cups of water. Strain the mixture and spray the tomato-infused water directly onto the leaves of plants that pests keep attacking.

DIY Pesticide

Garlic bulbs and cloves on a rustic wood table to be used for organic pest control in a garden.

You don't have to become an insectologist to protect your organic vegetable garden, and you may not always be able to identify the pest that's feasting on all your hard work. Using simple garlic, create a general-purpose organic pesticide that won't harm your garden. The strong smell acts as a natural deterrent to lots of different pests, and garlic is readily available at any grocery store. Get 10 to 12 cloves and mash them up in a blender with four cups of water. Let this mixture sit for about 24 hours so it can reach full potency and then strain it and mix it all up with one cup of ordinary cooking oil. Put your natural pesticide in a spray bottle and liberally cover your plants with it. The garlic smell won't be as strong to you, but it will send lots of pests scurrying in the other direction.

Organic Pesticide Oils

There are several products available on the market that are designed to kill pests in organic gardens. Neem oil, for example, comes in a spray form that attacks immature pests and prevents them from maturing and thus eating your plants. However, neem oil washes away in the rain and can actually be dangerous for household pets. Horticultural oil is a type of refined petroleum that suffocates insects when it's sprayed on the leaves of plants. This oil works best against aphids, and can damage your plants if you use too much of it.

Many organic pesticides need to be handled with care and used sparingly so they don't damage more than the pests in your garden. If you decide to go with a commercial product, read the instructions very carefully and find out if the pesticide is harmful to humans and/or pets, so you can take the proper precautions.

Don’t let pests destroy all the hard work you’ve put into your organic vegetable garden. Deal with pests in natural, safe ways that are non-toxic and non-harmful to humans, but terribly damaging to those ugly pests. Keep the pests away, and you’ll end up getting a lot more out of your garden.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!