Organic Pest Control for the DIYer

Written by Gene Caballero on September 16, 2015

Organic Pest Control for the DIYer

There's nothing better than being able to walk out of your door, into your yard and to your very own garden. There's something very gratifying in planting, growing, and harvesting your own produce.
While it may sound simple and basic, maintaining a garden can be tricky, especially if you want to go green. Organic gardening can be very successful if you do a bit of research. There are lots and lots of options for maintaining a pest free garden other than spraying chemicals.

Where do I start you may be wondering? Let's break it down and go over some different approaches.

First we'll start with bugs. Essentially there are "good" and "bad" bugs and the key for a successful garden is knowing the difference.

Bugs like aphids, japanese beetles, earwigs, and grasshoppers can wreak havoc on any garden and those are definitely the bugs that need a keep out sign. Not only do they eat the plants their larvae do as well and the larvae eat much more than the adults.
One solution to this problem is to bring in the "good" bugs. Praying mantis, lady beetles, lacewings, and dragonflies can be a great help. They are predatory bugs that eat other insects and not plants. Also, they set up camp in your garden to provide continued security.
Bugs make quite a simple solution, but how do you go about getting the "good" bugs and not the "bad" ones? There are two ways.
One way is to simply order them. You can get a box of bugs to place in your garden.

The other way is to plant insectary plants. Insectary plants attract the "good" bugs by providing food and shelter to them. 

If you use 5-10% of your garden to insectary plants you can cut down on the need to use chemicals in keeping "bad" bugs away. Also, planting blooms year round will provide continuous protection. 

Marigolds, fennel, sunflowers, alyssum, and borage are a few plants that work well as insectary plants. Not only are they practical they can add a bit of color and variety to your garden.
Row covers are another option when it comes to protecting your plants without resorting to chemicals. These covers, which come in a variety of materials and thickness, allow air, water, and sunshine through while protecting your plants from pests. Also, these covers are great for protecting plants from harsh weather.
Row covers are simple and easy to install. All you will need is the cover, metal hoops and something to use as an anchor. You place the metal hoops into the soil, cover, and anchor down.

There may be a situation in which there are just too many bugs and you need to cut down on the number of these pests. There's a product made from fossilized algae called Diatomaceous Earth. This powder is actually razor sharp and can pierce the exoskeleton of a bug causing death.
It's completely safe for your plants and easy to apply. All you have to do is use a duster to dust onto the plant and be sure to reapply after a rainfall.
All these things are easy to use and practical.

Now go out and enjoy your garden.  See the full outline and illustration below:

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