Most vegetable gardeners know that they are vastly outnumbered by insects when working in their gardens. While most of these creatures are harmless and can even benefit your garden, others are all too ready to deliver their own brand of destruction to your garden.
The good news is there’s a wide selection of non-toxic and low-cost solutions available to contain harmful pests in your garden and prevent them from multiplying and wreaking havoc on the plants you’ve nurtured from seedlings to their fruit-bearing phases.
Schedule regular pest-control visits
If you are serious about ridding your vegetable garden of harmful pests, you can add structure to your efforts by scheduling regular visits with a pest control professional.
You can partner with trained experts by using a local pest control company. A team of dependable exterminators will accurately identify the harmful pests that have claimed territory in your garden and use the proper methods to remove them. Pest-control pros will prevent any further damage in your garden. You won’t have to worry about less-than-satisfactory results, just trust the results.
You can combine an everyday soap with a touch of water to create your own insecticidal soap mixture. The soap you use as the base for your mixture should be completely natural and contain no chemicals or additives. You will need one gallon of water for every five tablespoons or so of soap you use to produce this DIY pest-control solution.
As a patch test, apply a small amount of the solution on plants before spraying your entire garden with it. If the mixture damages the leaf of a plant, you should dilute it further with more water.
Mechanical traps can be used to lure pests away from your vegetable garden. These traps can be purchased in-stores, or you can take the DIY approach and assemble them in your home.
A quick trap for snails or slugs can be made by nailing small wood strips into one side of a board. Once finished, place the board in your garden with the side containing the wood strips facedown. When a snail or slug tries to crawl under the board, they will find their progress impeded by the wood strips. With the snail or slug contained, you can, then, collect the pests and boot them from your vegetable garden.
You can use paper collars, nets, and assorted fences to keep insects and other pests away from the plants in your vegetable garden. You can also purchase transparent covers made of fabric or plastic to deny insects access to your garden. These covers are commonly referred to as front row covers and will not hinder access to the sunlight your plants enjoy.
Water pressure sprays
Spider mites and aphids can be pried from the surface of vegetable plants by spraying with a strong stream of water. You can effectively separate pests from delicate plant life by attaching a spray nozzle to the end of your water hose and spraying away.
Do not use this method on plants that don’t seem sturdy enough to handle the pressure produced by the stream of water. You will need to spray your plants regularly to reap the benefits from this method. However, your plants should be completely dry from the last spray application, before you spray your garden again. This precaution will help to avoid a heightened risk of disease that can be caused by overwatering.
Horticultural oils can be mixed with water and sprayed directly on your vegetable plants. These oils will eliminate many types of insects from your garden. It is important to remember that horticultural oils do not discriminate between the beneficial and harmful insects in your garden, so apply cautiously.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized aquatic organisms. This pest control solution has the power to penetrate insect exoskeletons and kill them through dehydration. You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the ground near your plants to deter crawling pests. The powder is safe for pets and humans but should not be inhaled.
Battery-powered, hand-held vacuums are available to boost your pest control efforts. Use one hand to shake the plant you have targeted. Hold your vacuum at the ready position with the other hand, so that you can vacuum the pests that fall onto the ground or attempt to fly away.
Picking by hand
The simplest way to protect your plants from harmful pests is to hand-pluck these insects from your plant leaves and stems. This budget-friendly pest control method will cost you nothing other than the effort it takes to pick insects from your vegetable plants. Warning, this pest control method will involve a decent amount of labor if there is a large infestation of pests in your garden.
No gardener wants to dedicate hours of their free time to the mitigation of household pests. After all, gardening should be a place to unwind and escape the stresses of your every day. Remember, your time and energy are priceless resources, so don’t waste a second.