Wouldn't it be great if there were no such thing as pests in the garden? In Mother Nature's intricate web of life, pests are a part of it. Someday we would like to be able to ask her why this is so. The big question we would like the answer to is "why mosquitoes?".
Listed below are some of the common pests most gardeners get in their gardens and the organic ways to keep them in check.
Mother Earth News has compiled chart with the "Worst Garden Pests by Region", which is very help if you are a new gardener and aren't quite sure what to be on the lookout for.
But while garden pests can certainly be a problem, making sure that we take care of our pollinators is equally, if not more important. On July 21, 2022, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, (IUCN), the global leading authority on the status of biological diversity, placed the migratory monarch butterfly on its Red List of threatened species and classified it as endangered.
There are several reasons for the decline, including habitat destruction, mass use of pesticides including glyphosate used in GMO crops, drought, and climate change. But in our own gardens, we can make sure that the Monarch is safe by using the safest methods possible to control pests.
As I was weeding in my garden I noticed that were several weeds that were really chewed up. Instead of pulling them, I treated them like a trap crop and allowed them to be munched on instead of my tomatoes. It seems to work!
Some garden pests are trickier to control than others. Deer, racoons, squirrels and other animals that live in your area can't be easily controlled, other than making it either harder to get to your precious vegetables or making the vegetables unpalatable so they won't want to eat them in the first place.
Floating Row Cover - this puts a barrier between any predators and your plants. One example is in the fall when you plant your garlic, put the row cover over the garlic plot so the squirrels don't dig up the cloves you have just planted. In the spring when they start to sprout you can remove the row cover and let the plants grow. You can also use the row covers to drape over your plants that might be infected with cabbage worms.
Fencing - Adding a fence around your garden is a great way to keep larger animals, like deer from getting in and using your garden as their salad buffet. Depending on the size grid you get, you may also be able to keep out some of the smaller rodents from feasting on your hard work.
Metal fencing is usually the best option, as rabbits and other rodents have been known to chew right through the plastic fencing to get to their meal. We know this from experience! According to informedfarmers.com, the very minimum height for a deer fence should be 6 feet high.
There are also other ideas that may work in your garden to keep rodents out, like plastic owls, rubber snakes and other ways to help protect your crop. Off The Grid News has 12 clever ways to help protect your garden. As they mention, companion planting is another great way to not only increase the yield in your garden, but to help protect plants as well. We have used basil planting with our tomatoes every year and have not had any tomato cutworms. Lots of pests will find your plants by smell, and the basil helps to hide the scent.
The Farmers Almanac has a good companion planting guide.
If you are lucky enough to have a farm dog that lives outside, they are a great way to keep any hungry herbivores from munching on your veggies.
Do you have any clever ideas that you use to keep animals out of your garden? Let us know!
Great option for all-around pest control
For an all-around great option for pest control in organic gardens, Neem oil is the solution.
Neem oil is the pressed oil of the seeds in the Neem Tree and has been used safely in the gardening, as well as the medical and cosmetics industries for years. As neem oil is targeted to specific pests, like whiteflies, aphids, borers, leafhoppers, and others, it is safe for humans and most wildlife,.