Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gardening Sans Pesticides

Whether you strive to be an organic gardener and keep pesticides far from your food and local waters, or dislike the idea of poisoning innocent little bugs, there are a few simple tricks to keeping the insect population in your garden at a healthy and manageable level:

- Don't invite them. Minimize bug breeding grounds. Clear away any dead plants and pull weeds on a regular basis and avoid leaving any standing water in your watering can.

Research and rotate your crops. Some plants are more likely to attract pests and a varied mix lowers the risk of a pest uprising.

Mix in some herbs and flowers. Coriander, dill, caraway chervil, fennel, and parsley naturally ward off pests. Sunflowers and sweet asylum attract pest-eating bugs and marigolds emit a strong stench that deters pests.

Wetness encourages fungus and insects. Water early in the day so that plants are dry throughout most of the day.

If slugs and snails are your problem pests, try spreading some coffee grounds around the infested areas.

When all else fails, there is always homemade bug spray. Mix one tablespoon of liquid dish washing soap and one cup of vegetable oil. Add one or two teaspoons of that mixture to per cup of water in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the infected plants early in the morning or after the hottest part of the day has passed because vegetable oil can burn plants in hot weather.

And if your pests are of a different breed and have four legs and some sort of fur, try cleaning out your hairbrush near your veggies. It sounds gross, but a little human hair along the way keeps the deer at bay.

1 comment:

AF said...

Great, so now I have to get up earlier to water my plants and drink water before my run?! Maybe I can drink water while I water.

I will try the homemade spray, thanks! Will report back on that as well...