The gardening season is in full swing! Splashes of color are popping up everywhere. Vegetable gardens are being planted. So, what to do about those pesky critters and pests? If you find organic produce prices discouraging, the best way to get organic produce on the cheap is to yield the produce yourself. If you are worried about the declining bee population, why would you go and spray your flowers with pesticide? I challenge you to try these easy tips and go organic in your garden this month.
Get rid of aphids and other pests by planting flowers in and around your vegetable garden. Some of the best flowers for aphid control are allysum Carpet of Snow, marigolds, dwarf zinnia, and yarrow. Now, normally I am into native gardening, but if you can control pests without chemicals and you are attracting beneficial insects to your garden, I can lighten up on that.
You can also spray plants with dish soap. For more tips on how to control garden pests see 10 Fast Ways to Control Pests at Organic Gardening Magazine’s website. For an excellent detailed listing of which plants attract which beneficial insects, see Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects at Farmer Fred.
I have a hibiscus (another non-native, but it came with the house and is way too beautiful to take out) that was eaten to bits two years ago by pests. We still haven’t quite identified what the pest was because it doesn’t seem to be an aphid. The first year, I didn’t want to spray and we watched as the poor thing became a skeleton. Last year, I broke down and let my husband spray. This year, I decided to tackle this thing head-on by planting flowers that attracted beneficial insects, such as parasitic wasps. I chose marigolds and zinnia because that’s all they had at my local garden center. They were pretty mangy and on the discount rack, but they did the job. By the time I planted them, larvae were already starting to gnaw away at the leaves. Now, the plant is flourishing! I saved my hibiscus and saved those mangy plants for about $3!
For 4-legged critters and birds that like to nibble away at your plants, veggies, and fruit, try netting. Yes, it’s that simple! It’s not attractive, but it works. We use this method for our blueberry bush that the birds love and for a plant that something (a deer or rabbit?) found particularly tasty. Both are now thriving. You can get BirdBlock Netting or DeerBlock Netting directly from Amazon. These are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from items purchased through these links. This is what keeps the blog going.
We think the other thing that has kept the rabbits away is that our last two neighbors have had greyhounds and a German shepherd, respectively. I hadn’t put two and two together until my husband mentioned that it is probably why we no longer have an abundance of bunnies running around in our backyard. I’m not saying you should go out and get a dog, but they can be of service in that capacity!
These are not hard techniques. You can buy netting from Amazon while sitting on your couch. You can go to the store to buy some beneficial plants as easily as you can go to the store to buy insecticide. Be a good steward of the environment. Who is up for the challenge!!!
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