Harmful pests are often a problem when gardening, and do-it-yourself organic pest control is quickly becoming the best solution. This is because in recent years, the number of concerns surrounding chemical agents has increased. For one, plants are beginning to build resistance to common pesticides, and their effectiveness is decreasing. |
Another issue is that many chemical pesticides are too broad, meaning they kill helpful insects along with the few that are a problem. After all, pests are an important part of the food chain, and wiping them all out will only lead to more trouble. These issues plus government regulations and important safety and environmental problems caused by chemical pesticides have hiked the expense, creating yet another negative stemming from their use. Below are some ways that you can make a positive change, not just in your garden or crops, but also for the safety of animals and humans, and the environment.
Cultural Control One way of pest control without necessarily actively using a pesticide is to control the growing environment to benefit helpful insects, and hinder harmful pests. Soil pH levels, amount of water and sunlight and selection of plants are some ways to change or control your growing environment.
Beneficial Insects It's a fact that less than one percent of insects in the world are harmful. Before you begin to introduce organic pesticides into your garden, do some research; find out what is causing harm to your plants and how that particular pest is best controlled. Introducing more beneficial insects, insects that are only predatory to other insects not plants, humans or animals, is an age-old practice that still holds up. The ladybird beetle is often used to control aphids, and the praying mantis is another well-known beneficial insect.
Biological Pesticides Live organisms, such as parasites, predators and pathogens, or their toxins can be used to control certain harmful pests while remaining safe for beneficial insects and the environment.
Soaps, Oils and Abrasives These broad-based solutions contain agents that dehydrate pest insects. Though they degrade quickly and are considered natural, take care not to use them if you're looking to protect beneficial insects.
Botanical Insecticides These organic pesticides come from plants and biodegrade much more quickly than chemical pesticides. They are extremely effective, but again, are broad-based and may wipe out beneficial pests as well as the culprits you're trying to get rid of.
Recipe for Your Own Organic Pesticide This recipe which is found on the Organic Gardening website combines soap and botanical insecticides to repel leaf-eating insects. Chop, grind, or liquefy one garlic bulb and one small onion. Add 1 teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper and mix with 1 quart of water. Steep 1 hour, strain through cheesecloth, then add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap to the strained liquid; mix well. Spray your plants thoroughly, including leaf undersides. Store the mixture for up to 1 week in a labeled, covered container in the refrigerator.
Good luck with your naturally safe and prosperous garden!
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