One of the worst things about loving your garden… is that insects, animal pests and destructive fungi love it too! All gardeners know the loss of going to bed one night after gazing lovingly at their prized tomato plant… only to wake up the next morning and find it full of holes! We want ways to get rid of these pests… but we want these methods to be safe for us and our families as well. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common pests, and some pesticide-free methods for getting rid of them!
First and foremost is doing everything you can to prevent these pests from invading in the first place.
– Remove weak plants. They are susceptible to disease (if they are not already infected) and will attract predators.
– Use natural composting methods to enrich your soil, which will promote strong, healthy plants that can resist disease better.
– Use natural fertilizers, like Neptune’s Harvest, to feed your plants. These natural additives give your plants the nutrition needed to resist disease and pests.
– Make sure to clear away any debris that would make a good habitat or breeding ground for pests.
– Rotate your crops each year. Insect pests are typically plant specific, so planting different crops each year will prevent any pests from being able to winter over.
– Use companion planting. Interlace some crops with other crops so pests are less likely to infest and spread.
– Keep your foliage dry. Water early in the day so the foliage is dry for most of the day. This may prevent fungal infections.
– If your garden tools have come in contact with infested plants, be sure to clean your tools thoroughly to prevent spreading of disease or insects.
– Use beneficial insects to aide with any harmful insect infestations.
Just remember that sprays that kill harmful insects will also kill beneficial insects, so only treat infected plants. Early morning or just before dark are the times where pests are most active, and be sure to reapply after it rains. Below we’ve listed a few natural pest control methods that we offer at Pinetree. Take a look at the Pest Control section of our website for more products!
Along with the above methods, you can use these home remedies as well!
Baking Soda Spray 1 TBSP baking soda, 1 TBSP vegetable oil and 1 TBSP biodegradable dish soap in 1 GAL of water. Spray on any plants affected by fungal diseases daily until fungal issue is gone.
Milk Spray Equal parts milk and water, sprayed on plants affected by powdery mildew 3 times a week until the issue has been resolved.
Beer Traps Sink a tuna can, yogurt tub, or pie plate (or something similar) into the ground so the top of the container is level with the ground, add several inches of beer until it is an inch below the top of the can or plate. The slugs will fall into the beer and drown.
Garlic Oil Spray 3-4 cloves of garlic in 2 TSP of mineral oil. Let it sit overnight and then strain out the garlic. Add oil to 1 Pint of water along with 1 TSP biodegradable dish soap, spray on. Helps control aphids, white flies and beetles.
Many diseases are spread by splashing water (heavy rainstorms, water sprinklers), so mulch with straw, dried leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, etc. to prevent this. Another effective (although tedious) way of getting rid of pests is simply handpicking them off. Pests like tomato hornworms and potato bugs have no surefire prevention or eradication methods, so use handpicking in conjunction with companion planting and crop rotation to keep these pests under control.