There is growing global awareness of pollution and finding solutions to limit it, including natural pest control methods.
Run-off pollution is primarily caused by the large quantities of pesticides deployed in agriculture and in our gardens. Presently, many of these are considered to be carcinogenic and can cause a number of dangerous health issues upon ingestion. If that’s the case, how do you protect your garden?
Ideally, you should choose natural pesticides over chemical-based ones. They have fewer side effects since they are extracted from trees and plants in a natural manner, and are generally considered safe for human consumption. Certain natural pest control methods like companion planting don’t even require you to deploy any sort of pesticides. If the reason for your gardening is to develop a sustainable, clean source of nutrition, you should definitely look into environment-friendly pest control methods.
Keep reading to learn more about effective natural pest control methods.
Neem Oil – An Established Favorite
An extract from the Azadirachta Indica species, neem oil can be used to kill bugs and dangerous insects with zero side effects. However, you need to be mindful of certain things before you apply it to your garden. It is known for killing plants at high doses. Therefore, it would be prudent to do a small test on your plants to check whether they are negatively affected. Neem is also capable of burning plants when applied in the presence of direct, hot sunlight or when applied in high dosages. In order to ensure this doesn’t happen, just follow the prescribed dosage instructions given on the bottle and apply it to your plants around sunset.
Neem oil is largely regarded to be non-toxic and safe for consumption on food in small doses.
Organic Horticultural Oil
Here, you can utilize either dormant oil or summer oil, depending on the season. They are effective by smothering the targeted pests. Make sure to choose an oil that has been certified my OMRI for organic use. Dormant oil can wipe out any bugs that were lying dormant during the winter season and it should be applied after the trees have finished shedding their leaves entirely. Summer oil can be utilized when the trees still have leaves on them. It is not harmful to foliage and will ward off any ill-effects.
Just like neem oil, test the dormant or summer oil first on a tiny patch on the plant before applying it to the whole thing. Don’t apply the oil in the presence of direct sunlight – delay application until dusk.
Horticulture Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Composed of ground-up fossils, Diatomaceous Earth is applied around plants and is effective because of its ability to inflict micro-cuts onto the bodies of the insects that walk on it. It also readily absorbs moisture from the resulting wounds and, as a result, the insects become dehydrated and eventually die from it. You can apply Diatomaceous Earth around a plant’s base or mix it with water to be sprayed onto a plant directly. However, it’s not safe for consumption and you must ensure you thoroughly rinse your vegetables and fruits, before using them.
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Handpicking – Tedious But Effective
You can always simply eliminate the bugs on your plants by picking them off manually. While it’s a time-consuming process, there is no chemical damage or risk involved for the plants. You can do this by using a small hand-held vacuum cleaner with a hose and a brush. This will be very effective for sucking up the bugs on your plants in a gentle manner. Whilst this is a fast and efficient method, keep in mind that the vacuum hose’s force may be too strong for certain delicate plants to handle.
Centuries Old Companion Planting
Companion planting is another risk-free natural pest control method. It requires a plan beforehand since you have to procure plants, which are capable of protecting other plants from damage. For instance, if your intention is to grow tomatoes, consider growing basil nearby as well since it can drive away pesky flies and mosquitoes.
Some plants though do not thrive together. Growing tomatoes and potatoes together is a bad idea since rotting diseases can be transmitted from one to the other easily. You definitely need to separate these two crops.
As you can see, there are a number of natural pest control methods you can make use of for protecting your plants. Toxic chemicals are completely unnecessary if you utilize the right techniques.