Whether you are growing vegetables or colorful flowers, gardening can be an enriching activity. However, many different garden pests want to enjoy your garden just as much as you do. There are many synthetic pesticides on the market designed to target these pests, but they are often highly toxic and can be dangerous for people, pets, and the environment. Fortunately, there are organic alternatives. Learn more about natural pesticides for your organic garden.
What are the benefits of natural pesticides?
Synthetic pesticides are a widespread remedy for fighting garden pests. They can be easily purchased at many stores and are designed to kill specified pests. Although they are highly effective at accomplishing this goal, they are also highly toxic.
Synthetic pesticides are made of many chemicals that are hazardous to living things. These pesticides are not only harmful to the targeted insects they are trying to kill but can also have poor health impacts on people and pets. This is even more true if synthetic pesticides are used on a vegetable garden and then ingested by humans.
Natural pesticides, on the other hand, come from natural or organic sources such as minerals or plants. They also strive to kill or repel garden pests, keeping the plants in your garden safe. They are still toxic. However, they are significantly safer than synthetic pesticides for people, animals, and the environment.
Using Natural Pesticides for Your Organic Garden
Before you use any homemade natural pesticides, test them out on a smaller portion of your garden. This will help ensure that the pesticide doesn’t accidentally harm your plant more than it helps repel the pests. Make sure to apply your natural pesticides in moderation, without using so much that it harms your plants. Finally, never use anything that contains bleach in your garden, as bleach is a harmful chemical that is toxic to your plants.
Here are five natural pesticides for your organic garden that are sure to work:
- Dish Soap
- Eucalyptus Oil
Dish soap is a very common household item that is affordable, easy to use, and effective as a natural pesticide. Mix a teaspoon of mild dish soap for every one quart of water. Then, use a spray bottle to spray the infected surface and leaves of your plants. Spraying your plants with dish soap effectively repels many common garden pests. These pests include aphids, mites, whiteflies, and beetles.
As with watering your plants, it is best to spray natural pesticides on your plants in the early morning. This will keep the pesticides from evaporating too quickly in the mid-day sun and from adding to humidity and rotting your plants in the evening.
Garlic is a natural pesticide that is highly effective at repelling insects due to its smell. One way you can incorporate garlic into your garden is by planting it in your vegetable gardens. You will grow garlic to use in recipes while repelling garden pests like ants, slugs, whiteflies, beetles, and aphids.
However, if you are not interested in growing garlic, you can still use garlic to repel insects in your garden. Instead, make a garlic spray by blending garlic cloves and mixing them with water. You can also add a drop of mild dish soap for additional effectiveness. Spray your garden with the garlic mixture once a week to repel pests.
Salt is another organic pesticide that deters garden pests and also benefits your garden. Contrary to common myths, salt is an excellent fertilizer that increases your garden’s nutrition absorption in small doses.
Once a week, sprinkle some sea salt around the base of your plants. Doing this will repel pests and add magnesium to the soil, benefiting your plants. You could also make a salt spray by dissolving half a cup of salt in one gallon of warm water. Spray the mixture on your pest-infected plants once a week to repel beetles and slugs.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) is an excellent repellent for mosquitos and other bugs. OLE has a chemical called PMD, a highly effective bug repellent. It is listed as an active ingredient on the EPA’s list of safe and effective insect repellents.
Use oil of lemon eucalyptus by diluting it with water and dish soap. Spray with a spray bottle every few days to eliminate and repel pests.
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