Insect-pests don't understand the concept of "sharing", and can really ruin the fun of growing your own food. Unfortunately, harsh chemicals called 'pesticides' are often used to deter unwanted insects from plants. In this process, pesticides don't discriminate between "good" and "bad" insects, so these chemicals are poisonous to the helpful pollinators (honey bees!) and the end-consumers (you!). Luckily, with these easy & organic tricks below, you can skip the pesticides, and get rid of the pests!
1. Preventative techniques
- Use nutrient-rich soil
The first step in avoiding hungry insects from your garden is to take on a few preventative measures when planting. One of the most important things to do is make sure to use fresh, organic soil. The use of good quality soil with a good balance of nutrients helps plants grown healthy and strong, which will continue to keep the pests away. Organic potting soil is the best soil to use in a container garden. Pests are first and foremost attracted to weak and dying plants. So, by keeping the soil fresh your home garden will hopefully grow the beautiful plants you’re eager to harvest and eat.
- Practice companion planting
Another good rule-of-green-thumb is to practice companion planting. Companion planting is combining certain varieties of plants that grow well together (and usually taste great together!). It’s like living next door to your BFF. Companion plants will usually take complimentary nutrients from the soil, and in some cause assist in repelling pests.
For example: Basil is a companion plant with tomatoes and when planted together the basil protects the tomato from insects while also helping the production of the plants. And how perfect is it that tomatoes and basil make a perfect caprese snack (just add mozzarella)? Companion plants create companion snacks!
2. Create good airflow to make gardening a breeze
Provide consistent airflow around your garden to avoid stagnant air and excess moisture. Once your Seedsheet has sprouted, keep it in a place with good sunlight and airflow so the soil has a chance to dry out in-between waterings. Keep container gardens a few feet away from a wall, or if growing indoors, keep a window open or fan nearby (especially after applying fertilizer).
Standing water and decaying foliage will weaken plants and attract insects, so keep the growing area so fresh and so clean!
3. Homemade Insecticidal Remedies
Homemade remedies are amazing for keeping those nasty buggers away from your garden. Three homemade insecticidal remedies that you can try are:
- Soapy water remedy
Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap in a quart of water. Just a few sprays of this soapy potion on your growing garden will help fight off those pests.
- Cayenne-soap remedy
Mix 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper into soapy water and spray plant foliage with this mixture you can repel those beasts in no time.
- Garlic soap remedy
The last homemade remedy is the garlic soap remedy, which really focuses on killing off the chewing insects. To create this soap you just add teaspoon of ground garlic with water in a spray bottle and spray it all over your plants.
The best parts about these remedies is they are organic. The ingredients are easy to find in your home, so you don’t have to worry about having chemicals on your food or buying an insecticidal spray!