Pest-Free Organic Garden
In this age of organic awareness, people are more aware of the chemicals that are being used on and around our food. So if you have your own vegetable garden and want to stick to organic principles, how do you get rid of all those bugs?
Pick Them Off
This may seem a wee bit simplistic but it is actually a very viable way to getting rid of bug pests. If you take the time to look over your plants once or twice a day, and pick off any beetles or caterpillars you see (carry a bowl of soapy water to drop them into for later disposal). You can make a real dent in your bug population without having to spray anything at all.
Diatomaceaous earth is often shortened up to just DE and should be part of your gardening arsenal if you are trying to get away from chemicals on your plants. It's a completely inert and harmless white powder (the texture of baby powder or flour). To us it's fine powder but to a little bug, it's like walking through a pile of shattered glass. It is made up of microscopic little "diatoms" which are basically just tiny seashells. Once an insect crawls through the powder, it lodges in their joints and punctures their shells. They usually die within moments.
Just sprinkle it liberally around your plants, both on the soil at the base as well as on the leaves. It will wash off in the rain, and it can clump up if you use on wet soil. Even so, it's very useful and fully organic.
Unlike the others this is actually a toxin, but a mild and natural one so it is suitable for using on organic vegetables (or any other plants actually). Pyrethrum is a chemical that is extracted from certain types of chrysanthemum flowers, and it is pretty good at repelling insects. It will kill them if you spray them directly but it is intended as a repellant more than anything. Spritz down the leaves of your plants every day or so to keep the beetles and flies away. Just make sure you give your plants a wash before you harvest if you have just sprayed.
You can drape fine netting over some plants to keep the bugs off as long as you don't block any necessary pollinators. All fruiting plants, and that includes squashes and tomatoes, will need to be pollinated by insects (usually bees) before you get any fruit so you do not want to have them covered up when they are in flower. Sticky traps can also be placed among your plants to catch wayward bugs.
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