Natural Pest Control
- Created: 31 July 2014
s a person who worries about the future of our children today, I have to say there is a lot to be said for pesticides used today. It seems that everyone has become too lazy and they want to take the easy way out by using harsh chemicals to kill unwanted pests. Not only do these chemicals kill unwanted pests, they also kill our environment, which in turn is affecting our wildlife and affecting us. The saddest part about it is that it is harming our children, as children uptake more chemicals and toxins than we do as adults. Have you ever stopped to think why there are more children taking up residence in our hospitals with concerns like leukaemia and unexplained new diseases? I do.
I would like to let you know there are things that we can do in our gardens to reduce the risks and help keep our soils rich and fertile. It has been proved that plants that receive the right nutrients through their growing season are healthy and send out signals to insects letting them know that they are a healthy plant that is less likely to be attacked. Plants grown with chemical fertilizers in depleted soils are not healthy plants and the pests seem to zone in on these plants, like viruses attack people whose immune systems are depleted. Pesticides also wipe out our beneficial predator insects which in turn allow the harmful ones to flourish.
Here are some natural ways to control pest numbers.
- Yearly apply cow manure and till it into the ground. You can make compost out of it, though it is just as easy to till into the garden two or three months before planting. This in turn gives higher production with fewer pests.
- Keep soil covered with mulch (organically preferably). This protects it from exposure to all kinds of weather. The soil needs it as the rain washes all the goodness from the soil and the sun dried and bakes it. If this happens it dries out the moisture in the ground and the earthworms will move out. Mulch is also good for controlling weeds which means less work for us all.
- Plant the right variety of plants at the right time with the correct spacing.
- Have a well balanced soil with the right balance of nutrients.
- Keep up garden beds with rich organic matter and organic fertilizers; also the rotation of garden beds is a good plan to stick too, as certain plants bring certain nutrients to the soil surface.
- When it is not raining irrigate the soil to top up the water in the roots, though try not to over water.
Here is a list of some common pests that we seem to suffer with and some natural means of getting rid of them.
- Aphids – are small soft bodied sucking insects, they attach themselves to the young buds of plants and suck out their goodness. Try spraying the aphids with a solution of soapy water. Use 1 tsp of bio-degradable soap in a pump spray bottle.
- Cabbage Moth – these are white moths that lay green caterpillars that eat the foliage. These can be controlled with naturally occurring bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis. It is available as a powder that is mixed and sprayed onto the plants.
- Mildew – this is a common disease that causes the leaves of the plants to turn white or powdery. Try putting sulphur dust on or spraying with wettable sulphur.
- Snails and slugs – you know when you have these as they leave slimy silvery trails around and they eat your leafy foliage. The best defence is chickens or ducks if you are in an area where you can have them. The other is to use beer, any cheap beer will do using enough beer to lay a short necked bottle on its side so there is about 5cm of liquid in the bottle. Bury the bottle on its side with the lip of the bottle up so the snails can crawl in.
- Nematodes – these are the worst as they are microscopic worms that can get into the roots of your plants and tie knots in them, resulting in the death of the plants. The best way to avoid them is to try to not buy already established plants as they could be in the soil around the plant. It has been researched that marigolds can control the number of nematodes. The French marigold called Tagetes patula has been seen to do this.
To finish up gardeners wishing not to use highly toxic chemical sprays will have to be prepared to be patient and tolerate a certain degree of damage to their gardens until pest start to increase in numbers and then it will encourage predatory insects to come and the influence of other strategies that will help to return things back to their natural balance. Meanwhile there are quite a few low toxin options available at your local nurseries and products that you can even make yourself to keep pests at bay.
To all readers who may take time to look at this article I hope you may glean something of importance to you and that it may help.
Super Nutrition Gardening by Dr William S Peavy & Warren Peary.
Organic Vegetable Gardening by Annette McFarlane