Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spring Has Arrived!!

Spring has arrived!!
With it, comes the perfect gardening weather. With perfect gardening weather come the bugs to enjoy your garden you put your effort, heart and soul into.

So today, I want to share with you some of the tips for organic pest control.

First and formost, soil is the key!
Pests generally only stop and live on unhealthy plants. With healthy soil, you will have healthy plants.

Secondly, good seedstock is vital.
Seed from pest resistant plants will contain the same properties of the parent plants that the pests didn't enjoy, thus creating more pest resistant seed for future use. Forget the conventional seed packs from your local garden store, source out small seed companies that provide open pollinated heirloom varieties of seed. This seed has been grown in real conditions, mostly without pesticides and built up it's own immunity to pests that the seed now carry. They also are NOT owned by evil Monsanto like the conventional lines.

Thirdly, bugs are not your enemy.
They all belong here but balance is the key. Not all bugs are bad, in fact there are many bugs that will eat the pesty bugs. Planting beneficial insect attracting plants and flowers will go a great deal of a way to helping your organic gardens stay pest free. Ladybugs, crickets and stick insects eat some of the pests like aphids etc.

Build a frog pond, frogs and toads eat many different bugs that you don't want in huge proportions.

Now, to the most common annoying pests. If I miss any you want to know about, let me know and I'll add them in here as you request.

Ants aren't a terrible thing in your garden, they can even be your friends! Ants will turn and aerate your compost pile for you and lead you to any possible scale infestations. Ants farm scale so that they may milk them of their sweet sticky exudant.
If there are ants bothering your children in their play area, you can deter them by planting Tansy and Mint around. Ant's don't like either and will go out of their way to avoid them.

Aphids are little bugs that suck the life sap out of your plants. Planting nasturtiams with your plants will help keep the aphid numbers down on your food. Aphids are attracted to orange nasturtiams and reppeled by yellow nasturtiams you will provide an attractive home for the aphids that is NOT your food and provide a repelling agent. If they do bother your plants you can wash them off with warm soapy water and use Eco Oil, which is made up of essential oils and certified organic.

Place open match boxes in your garden and earwigs will find them a lovely place to hide. Close up the box and feed the litlle critters to your birds or poultry. Alternatively, you can use a log or rock to attract them.

Slater bugs:
Place halved citrus shells upside down in your garden and collect up the hiding slaters in the morning for your poultry to gorge on.

White Cabbage Moth:
These moths are those beautiful white 'butterflies' you see fluttering around eyeing of your brassicas. The actual moth is not your culprit, but their eggs resulting catterpillers are. The White Cabbage Moth hates strong smelling herbs such as dill, coriander and rosemary. Planting a border of very smelly herbs around your garden will deter the moth from llaying her brood on your food.

If you fail to deter the mummy moth or butterfly, you will not enjoy the company of catterpillers in your gardens. They can literally eat your plants overnight. The only way I know of to rid your garden of them is a game.
A couple hours after dark give each child or person a bucket and torch. The object of the game is to catch as many catterpillers as possible. Look under leaves and along stems in particular. Feed the catch to the birds or poultry.

Slugs and Snails:
There are a couple ways to rid your garden of these slimeys. One is to save your eggshells in the kitchen. When you have enough, crush them and sprinkle around the soil of your garden beds. The slimeys really dont like the feeling of having their tummies cut open so avoid them.
You can also set a trap to catch them, a dreamy drunken happy trap. Place a small bowl, cup or jar in the soil with beer in the bottom. Snails and slugs are attracted to the yeasty vit B drink and will drown in most happy circumstances.

Scale are an annoying pest that can drain the life out of a plant and cause some real damage. The tell tale sign is ants trailing up and down your trees continuously.
They are mostly partial to citrus fruit trees but will take whatever they can get.
I have successfully used Eco Oil to rid my trees of this pest.

There are lizards and birds that eat snakes, so by providing homes for them you can deter snakes in your garden.
Logs and rocks make perfect homes for lizards and native flowering shrubs and trees will attract bug and snake eating birds.

Happy Gardening

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