An Organic Guide to Pest-Free Gardening
Whether you’re gardening for a hobby or a necessity, don’t you want to make your garden as healthy as possible? Chemical pesticides not only hurt your garden in the long run, but they could potentially hurt the environment and the people around you. So, how do you protect your garden from the most stubborn pests without harsh chemicals? The organic gardeners have you covered!
Synthetic Pesticides are the Problem, Not the Solution
The truth about synthetic pesticides is that they are quite effective when it comes to gardening, so effective that they unfortunately come with a very big cost. The synthetic chemicals may seem to work faster in the beginning, however, as time passes you will find that they aren’t nearly as effective as the organic solutions. In the end whether the synthetic chemicals are pesticides or herbicides, over a long period they will kill everything, not just what they’re meant to target. This would include the pollinators and other beneficial insects that are great for your garden and the environment. Let us also not forget how much harm they can do for the wild life and humans who are going to potentially eat the fruits of your labor.
Work on your Garden’s Foundation: The Soil
If you’re looking to try organic pest-free gardening your first line of defense against pesky critters will always start at the base of your garden, your soil. Over time even the most fertile soils will eventually become depleted of nutrition due to hungry growing plants. With that said you will continually need to improve your soil on a regular basis. Nutritionally depleted soil means nutritionally depleted plants, and unhealthy plants are a honing beacon for pests and diseases. The following are a list of tips for you to try to improve your garden soil:
- Do not till or remove topsoil from the garden whenever possible: Instead, regularly add compost and other amendments by layering them on top of one another. Let the redworms and other beneficial organisms do the work for you.
- Try cycling the plants that live in your garden beds: Many diseases and pests focus on specific plant families, and when they find the specific plant or plant family they will invade, they set up camp for good. To thwart their efforts every season practice plant rotation. If you have kale planted in one of your garden beds this year, next year plant them in a different bed.
- Try making your own compost pile: Compost is completely broken down organic plant and animal matter, making it readily available for planting roots. Compost adds potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and other nutrients such as copper, iron, iodine, manganese, boron, cobalt, and molybdenum. It builds a friable and rich garden soil so we’re a big fan of adding it to garden beds.
- Plant cover crops (green manures): Cover crops aka green manures are legumes, grains, or grasses that are planted in a garden bed for the sole purpose of adding organic matter, preventing soil erosion, inhibiting weeds, and introducing nitrogen. Some examples of legumes include field peas, hairy vetch, red clover, and soybean. Once they have started flowering they are knocked down and turned under which will release the nitrogen into the soil. Grains and grasses are excellent cover crops for prevention weeds and discouraging erosion and building soil in general.
Organic Pest Control Practices: Does it Work?
It’s not uncommon to hear people say that they don’t believe in organic methods. They may feel as if they don’t work nearly as well and they aren’t as effective. My biggest question is, have you ever tired organic techniques and strategies? And if you have, did you give them enough time to develop and grow? That is part of the beauty of organic! Although both methods have their own list of benefits, organic pest control solutions work, and they’re especially effective when several methods are implemented at the same time. At the end of the day you may lose a few seedlings to a snail or a slug. However, in the end organic gardening practices always have and always will offer the most. If you’re looking for a people, animal, and earth friendly solution for maintaining a healthy balance in the garden, I think you may have already found it, just give it a little time and a lot of love.
This article was originally published by eReplacement Parts Blog.