An organic garden is a rewarding source of healthy fruits and vegetables for you and your family. Maintaining the delicate balance between all of the components of your organic garden’s ecosystem is hard work but it is the key to successfully preventing damage from harmful garden insects.
If that balance is upset, harmful pests may become a problem that requires additional attention. The topic of using any “pesticide” in an organic garden is a controversial one. There are both homemade and commercially-available products to assist in the control of harmful garden pests but it is important to note that extra care should be taken when selecting any pesticide to use in your organic garden. Pay particular attention to ingredients and warnings even though it may be labeled “natural” or “organic”.
To avoid the need for any pesticides, you should focus on the prevention of harmful garden insects instead. It is indeed the best “medicine” you can give your organic garden. Your ultimate goal is a natural balance of all the key elements of your garden…soil, water, plants AND insects. There are quite a few “good” insects that will help you fight the battle. Treat them well and you will reduce the risk of ever needing a pesticide.
When the key elements of your garden are in balance, it promotes a healthy garden and a balanced insect population (just enough of the good insects to control the bad ones)…and a healthy garden will do a great job all by itself to control harmful pests.
Here are four tips to promote a natural organic garden balance:
1. Maintain healthy soil.
This will promote healthy plants. Most insects only attack unhealthy plants. Incorporating natural compost consisting of garden and kitchen scraps is a natural, organic way to keep your soil fertile and healthy.
2. Rotate your crops.
Planting a crop in the same spot season after season will eventually weaken the soil of the nutrients a particular plant needs. The resulting unhealthy plans will be more prone to insect attack. Rotating crops from year to year allows the soil to replenish itself of depleted nutrients from the year before.
3. Invite the good bugs to your garden.
Encourage beneficial predator and parasitic insects into your garden by planting flowers in your garden that provide sources of food for them. They, in turn, will help keep the harmful insect population in check.
4. Keep your garden clean.
Keeping the garden or orchard free of excess debris will give the harmful insect population less places to hide and thrive.
At times, considering all of these factors may seem a bit overwhelming and stressful. However, if you are successful in keeping this delicate balance in check, you may never need to consider using pesticides in your garden and it will reward you with some of the healthiest, freshest vegetables on earth. Please never forget one of the most important things about your garden. You planted it because gardening is fun.
Visit the author’s comprehensive article, Organic Gardening Pesticides, for more information about prevention and the use of both homemade and commercially-available pesticides.
Suzy T is a mom and avid gardener from New Jersey. Visit her website and blog, Suzy’s Garden, for more gardening and crafting articles, projects and information. Be sure to visit the Book Shop at her site. There are a number of additional organic gardening references that may assist you.
Suzy’s other interests include writing, shopping and her two Golden Retrievers. She is also an advocate for the rights of children with special needs.