The Garden Charmer’s decided in honor of Earth Day that we would do collaborative posts about garden methods, tips and projects that are both good for you and the environment. Be sure to check out all the links below. I decided my post would be about how you can combat 3 common garden pests in natural ways you can feel good about.
I’m a firm believer that we should try all safe methods first before we resort to harsh chemicals or harmful practices. This topic is a vast one as it covers everything from pesky critters, to invasive weeds and destructive insects.
I decided to narrow this post down to a few regular offenders every garden has to battle with. There are several natural control methods for each type of garden problem you may encounter.
These may include:
Beneficial Insects- These are the ‘good’ bugs that will naturally control the bad bugs. Spraying toxic chemicals doesn’t just kill the pest your trying to eliminate, it also kills them too! Remember this the next time you reach for that bottle.
Companion Plants-Some plants make good neighbors to each other by either deterring the pest or attracting a beneficial that would destroy that pest.
Natural Recipes- These are safe ingredients that can be used that cause minimal harm but effectively control pests or diseases.
Physical Controls- Sometimes a little addition of a sound maker or a reflective surface is the right deterrent to use to control a garden offender.
Let’s take a look at 3 common problem insects and various solutions for controlling them.
Aphids-These little sap suckers ( literally! ) love to attach themselves to your plants and feed off of their sugars. They can rapidly get out of control if ignored so here are 3 natural garden remedies to control them.
Beneficial Insects- Ladybugs love to devour Aphids, especially their larvae which have a ferocious appetite when young. Learn to identify ladybugs in all their stages so that you do not mistake them for a ‘bad’ bug. Hover flies use aphids as a host for their eggs by injecting them into their bodies thus killing them off.
Companion Plants- Queen Ann’s Lace and marigolds attract both Ladybugs and Hover flies to your garden making them garden must haves for attracting natural aphid warriors.
Deterrent- Try planting some nasturtiums. They are an aphid favorite and they will choose to dine on that plant first over other potential meals in your garden. I let my nasturtiums attract as many as I can before I pull it and throw it into the trash along with its feasting party of pests.
Slugs and Snails- The amount of damage snails can do to a garden in an evening can be devastating. There are a ton of methods out there that include salt, copper tape, egg shells and beer traps all of which I’m sure you have already heard of, but here’s 2 you may not know about.
Natural Foes- Frogs, snakes and even blackbirds find these creatures to be a delicacy. Keeping your garden chemical free is the best way to attract these predators. I’m happy to say that my garter snake population has increased and as a result my slug problem has gone down.
Natural Poison- Caffeine may be your morning medicine but it’s Kryptonite for these soft bodied pests. When they come in contact with coffee grounds, they instantly absorb the caffeine which is poisonous to them. Spread it around the plants that are being attacked.
Mosquitoes- Nothing ruins a BBQ faster than this annoying pest and your garden could be the reason your slapping yourself silly. Try these methods to keep these blood thirsty creatures in check.
Standing Water- Ponds and birdbaths are not the only sources of standing water in your garden. A gutter that doesn’t drain, a tree stump that collects water and even a saucer filled with water under a plant can easily become a breeding environment as well. Watch for these less than obvious standing water sources and eliminate these as soon as you encounter them.
Companion plants- There are several plants out there that have natural citronella like qualities that will help repel mosquitoes. Basil and lavender are two herbs you’ll enjoy growing but will help keep those pests away.
Give these natural garden remedies a try before you move to more drastic measures. A little tolerance goes a long way in the garden so letting go of perfection to allow natural controls room to do their jobs is one step in the right direction.
Unless you have concrete for a yard… you will always have some sort of pest or disease to deal with. Find ways to minimize undesirables in a way that is least harmful to you, your beautiful garden and our Earth Mother.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out all the other links by the Garden Charmers below!