Farmers use a cocktail of pesticides to control insects that are attracted to a field with nothing but the same vegetable. Gardeners prefer environmental pest control and use a variety of techniques to reduce or even eliminate the need for poison.
When they do use poison, they use less harsh substances that are not as toxic to humans. A little effort can remove pests from your garden.
Natural Deterrents in the Garden
Gardeners can do things that big agricultural farmers cannot do. This includes the use of natural controls that reduce dependence on chemicals. Pesticides and herbicides are simply used to save labor.
A gardener loves to work with plants and so often prefers an environmental pest control that works best with diverse gardens.
Diversity is an important key to fighting pests. Large patches of the same crop tend to attract specialist insects while mixing plants has a way of disorienting crop pests.
Bees have no trouble moving between flowers, while bugs are attracted to rows of the same plant.
Most herbs are unattractive to pests, and mint is one herb that will repel many bugs. Just keep the mint in a container as it spreads quickly.
A similar idea is to plant something that is more attractive to pests than the main crop. Early greens are more attractive to aphids than other crops.
So, it is a good idea to check leaf greens regularly and pull any that are covered with pests. Nasturtiums are a flowering plant that will attract both aphids and various flies.
Nontoxic Pest Control
Many insects can be deterred with soapy water sprayed from a bottle. Many are killed on contact because the soap water clogs their airways. It deters new insects from feeding because they do not like to eat soapy residue.
A combination of soap, water, and hot sauce deterred many bugs. The only downside is the need for frequent application.
Be careful how much soap or hot sauce you add to your mixture. Too much will burn your plants. It is always best to start light on the soap and heavy on the water. If the ratio is ineffective on the pests, then slowly increase the soap to water ratio and keep applying each week.
Other plants produce substances that insects do not like. Tobacco can be steeped in water to release nicotine, which can be applied to plants in order to deter bugs.
Even more effective is extract from Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium, which is known as pyrethrum and is a botanical pesticide. It is also toxic to humans, but it does not linger as long as chemical controls.
The stems and leaves of plants can be powdered lightly with crushed limestone. It is alkaline, and many insects do not want to put this residue in their mouths.
The limestone also benefits the soil in moderation. Good healthy soil is perhaps the best defense against pests because healthy plants defend themselves.
Your Hands For Environmental Pest Control
Most gardeners control insects by picking them with their bare hands and dunking them in a pale of soapy water. Most bugs cannot bite or stink, and wearing gloves might make the job less disgusting.
Visiting the garden to pick pests every few days does consume time, but that is what plant lovers decide to do.
Observation will spot eggs on the underside of a squash leaf, and tearing away a leaf spares the whole plant.
For that matter, pulling up a struggling plant is the fastest means to remove aphids and look for pests attacking the roots. Thinning plants is part of keeping a garden. It reduces root competition and is good hygiene.
If a chemical is used to eliminate pesky infestations, such as black beetles on an eggplant, carbaryl is a trusted insect killer. Invertebrates cannot metabolize it while vertebrates can handle it in small quantities.
Products like Sevin are still much safer than the poisonous residue on factory farm produce. It is still an example of environmental pest control.