Beyond Pesticides

There are many insects and animals that we consider undesirable, mainly for the damage they cause in the garden. Sometimes, you might find these unpleasant bugs inside your house, and in such cases, you might require professional help. While it protecting your plants may see like a daunting task, you can do it without resorting to synthetic chemicals. You can even do so with what is already in your home. Careful gardening practices, natural pesticides and old-fashioned elbow grease are three methods you can look to if you want to keep unwanted pests out of your garden.

Homemade Pesticide

For organic gardening, specific practices are important for pest prevention. Tilling your garden after the growing season will kill eggs in the soil. Fabric row covers, which can be as simple as old bed sheets, will keep plants safe from a variety of bugs including grasshoppers and some beetles. Planting beans early, before the Mexican bean beetle becomes active, can minimize damage. Finally, crop rotation will keep pests guessing with the added benefit of keeping your soil nutrient rich. These measures are more geared toward prevention, which may not necessarily be helpful if pests have already taken root in your garden.

You may think all pesticides are out of bounds when you start organic gardening. It is important to remember there are several natural pesticides at your disposal under your sink or even in your fridge. Dish detergent diluted in water is an effective pesticide against white flies, aphids, spider mites and various other insects that target vegetable plants. However, If you choose to use soaps or other detergents on your plants, be sure test your mixture on a small portion of the plant to insure your insecticide will not harm the plant. Talcum powder is effective against corn ear worms and flea beetles. While it may not be readily available in your home, bacillus thuringiensis is a bacteria that is effective against many worms and caterpillars. If you choose to use soaps or other detergents on your plants, be sure test your mixture on a small portion of the plant to insure your insecticide will not harm the plant.


What homemade pesticides do not kill, good, old-fashioned elbow grease can likely take care of. For the less squeamish, simply locating and manually killing bugs is an effective option. The same goes with finding and squashing insect eggs. Clearing and proper disposal of dead or diseased plant matter will keep your garden clean, as well as keeping pests and disease at bay. You should also promptly pick ripe fruits and vegetables and remove anything that has fallen. This ensures that you get to enjoy the results of your labors, not the bugs. Finally, if rabbits and other large pests are a problem in your area, fences will come in handy. Simply partitioning your garden off from the rest of your yard can save you a lot of trouble.

Part of working with nature to cultivate your garden means accepting that you will have to share your garden with unwanted pests. The tools needed for organic pest control are often inside your own home, and they do not need to be harsh, synthetic chemicals. Good gardening practices, gentle pesticides and hard work are useful tools the organic gardener needs to insure that their garden remains safe and relatively damage free.