There are many organic gardening methods to help ensure a bumper crop of healthy fruit and vegetables. Organic pest control can include using natural sprays, nematodes, and row covers, to keep pests out. You can also use pest control plants to protect your vegetable garden. For example, many herbs contain essential oils that repel many types of aphids, beetles, mites, and roaches from your vegetable patch.
Of course, plants for pest control and organic pesticides may not be able to eradicate all types of insects. However, that may be a good thing because there are many beneficial insects that can also be part of an effective organic pest control strategy.
Another advantage of organic pest control for vegetables is their little impact on the environment. Spraying chemical insecticides and pesticides cause harmful chemicals to get into the food chain. Bugs can also build up resistance to artificial bug repellents. This means that you can end up having to use stronger chemicals to get rid of garden pests.
In this article, you will learn about the best organic ways to keep bugs away from your garden. You will also find out the best plants to use to help keep pests out of your garden organically.
The Best Plants for Pest Control
One of the best organic low-maintenance ways to prevent pests in your garden is planting companion plants.
According to a 2013 study by the State University of New Jersey, certain ‘pest control’ plants can reduce the need for pesticides. Companion plants can work in two ways. One way is to attract beneficial insects that kill off common garden pests. Another way companion plants work is to repel or deter certain types of insect pests.
What are some of the best pest control plants for reducing the impact of vegetable-destroying insects?
According to the study, aromatic herbs such as basil, sage, mint, thyme, and chamomile may repel certain bugs. For example, planting onions can help repel moths, mites, and aphids. Also, planting basil along with tomatoes may ward off hornworms and thrips.
An effective way to use plants for vegetable garden pest control is to plant ‘trap plants.’ The journal Insects in 2018 published a review entitled “Application of Trap Cropping as Companion Plants for the Management of Agricultural Pests”. Trap cropping involves planting crops alongside the main crop to reduce the need for chemicals.
According to the review, some effective companion crops include the following:
- African marigolds or rocket (Eruca sativa) alongside tomatoes
- Buckwheat or carrots together with onions
- Sunflower plants combined with bell peppers
- Eggplants (aubergine) and beans together
So, you can use companion plants to increase the effectiveness of your organic gardening strategies. Also, you can attract beneficial species that are natural enemies of the most destructive garden pests.
Other Methods for Organic Pest Control
Of course, using natural ways to keep pests out of your garden has to be used in conjunction with other organic methods.
Let’s look at some of the most effective solutions for controlling pests organically.
Use Good Fertile Soil
One of the best ways to limit your reliance on chemical pesticides is to make sure your garden soil is healthy. The Royal Horticultural Society says that the basis of good organic gardening is maintaining fertile soil. This type of soil helps to limit the effect of pests and diseases because it encourages healthy plant growth.
Some organic methods you can try include using organic compost, fertilizer, and lime. These can all improve soil quality. Also, applying mulch and regular weeding can help prevent heavy infestations of common garden pests.
Attract Natural Pest Predators
Another way to prevent damage that beetles, larvae, caterpillars, and aphids can do is to attract birds, ladybugs, and frogs. These kinds of animals and insects can naturally control bug populations in your veggie garden.
Of course, if you grow fruit trees, you may face the problem of birds nibbling at your fruit. However, they will also consume a lot of the bugs that damage plants. Also, toads and frogs will feast on grubs, snails, flies, and slugs.
It’s also important to remember that not all insects are the enemy of the organic gardener. According to an Oregon State University report, planting herbs, flowers, and plants such as broccoli, cosmos, dill, alfalfa, and sunflowers can attract both predators and parasitoids. These can help control aphids, fruit moths, plant bugs, and spider mites.
The Best Time for Watering an Organic Vegetable Garden
If you want to reduce the impact of pests, then it’s important to water your garden at the best times. Usually, watering in the morning keeps your fruit and vegetables hydrated throughout the day. This prevents plants from getting stressed in the heat which, in turn, attracts garden nasties.
Also, avoiding watering plants in the evening stops too much evening moisture attracting slugs and snails.
Another way to prevent damp conditions in your vegetable is to avoid planting vegetables too close together. Leaving enough space between plants allows air to circulate and not provide too much shelter for plant-destroying bugs.
In conclusion, certain plants are great for pest control and organic gardening methods. Also, care for your soil by proper watering and fertilizing to encourage healthy plant growth. These are some of the best organic ways to prevent pests in your garden.