Why You Should Be Using Natural Pesticides in Your Gardens
By Nicki Goff
Many farmers and gardeners use chemicals to kill bugs that harm their crops. These pesticides are an environmental and health hazard. Often local governments spray pesticides to combat mosquitoes and other insect infestations, and these sprays can drift… who knows where.
Understandably, we all want to protect our crops and maximize production. It shouldn’t be at the expense of your health, the health of those who consume produce, or the purity of our water supply. The good news is there are sustainable practices to keep slugs and bugs off your garden fruits and vegetables.
Improve Your Soil
This may sound odd as a pest control, but if you have built up a fertile, loose soil, your plants will grow much more healthy. Healthy plants can more easily resist the devastation of insects and disease. When you do see insect or pest damage, if the pests are visible, just pick them off and destroy them. If not, give these other measures a chance.
Make Your Own Natural Pesticides
You probably have in your kitchen or home some of the ingredients for natural pesticides. For example, garlic, onion, cayenne pepper and dish soap steeped together and sprayed on some plants will protect against slugs and many bugs. Combat caterpillars, aphids, and several types of worms with a mixture of water and tobacco. Look for more recipes for natural pesticides online.
Garden Pest Deterrents
Slugs and snails can destroy your plants and flowers faster than you can say “slimy”. You can deter them from getting near your precious plants in a variety of ways. They will have difficulty crossing a barrier of sharp gravel ashes and soot or broken eggshells or copper wire. You can set up a vertical barrier around plants with clear rigid plastic inserted on edge around a group of plants. Protect a group of plants by setting beer traps – containers filled with beer and set in the ground, with rims just above the surface. The slugs will crawl in and drown. Get rid of excess mulch and decaying leaves, as these are natural hiding places for slugs and snails.
Encourage Carnivorous Bugs
Ladybugs are wonderful for your garden. They eat aphids, scales, and mites. Many garden supply shops will sell them, or you can order them online.
Use Companion Plants
Finally, many plants work quite well to repel bugs from your garden. Plant marigolds among your vegetables. They look pretty and colorful, and also will repel nematodes, Mexican bean beetles, squash bug, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whitefly. Geraniums repel cabbage worms and leaf hoppers and mint repels ants and aphids, and the cucumber beetle. Plant garlic next to or beneath your rose bushes, and say goodbye to aphids.
What do pesticides do?
Pesticides (and there are well over 9,000 different acceptable pesticides approved by the FDA) have a number of health implications:
- Pesticides can be carcinogenic
And a whole lot more. Scientists are only beginning to understand the level of contamination already existing, and how pesticides are affecting our health, the health of our children and our planet.
You can reduce or eliminate pesticide damage by buying or making natural pesiticides whenever possible, and by using natural pesticides when you grow your own fruits and vegetables. No one likes a bug-infested garden; however, it takes just a few simple steps to deter or eliminate them.
Gardening expert Nicki Goff offers a free e-mail starter course all about her main passion… herb gardening. For access, visit her website, [http://www.HomeHerbGardener.com], and to find more great tips, and her new comprehensive e-book, on creating, maintaining and enjoying your own home herb garden, along with bonus e-books on specific aspects of herb lore.
She also blogs about her passion of gardening at [http://www.GardenWithPassion.com]http://www.GardenWithPassion.com. Find general gardening articles here, along with recommended books and resources.