Is It Safe to Use Diatomaceous Earth in Your Garden?

Diatomaceous Earth

Gardening is not only a stress-reducing hobby but can free you from purchasing overpriced store-bought vegetables like tomatoes and spinach. Not to mention, gardening keeps your property looking beautiful, especially when your planted flowers start to bloom. However, like everything in life, there are some hurdles you’ll need to clear to achieve the fruit and vegetable-bearing garden of your dreams. The most significant barrier a gardener will need to conquer is hungry pests.

Pests can munch on your plants and leave your garden in ruins if you fail to draft a pest control plan. You can oversee the pest control plan yourself or recruit local pest control providers like Joshua’s Pest Control who undergo extensive training in eradicating garden pests.

Before starting a garden, understand that certain pests are likely to appear during certain months or seasons of the year. The month of July, for example, can leave your garden looking barren due to the scorching heat in which many pests like beetles thrive.

However, following these expert-recommended gardening tips related to proper watering techniques will guarantee that your garden looks beautiful and stays pest-free. One pesticide you can rely on during these difficult months is diatomaceous earth.

What is diatomaceous earth?

If you’re a beginning gardener, you probably have heard of diatomaceous earth. If you aren’t well-versed in its benefits, you may wonder what it is and how your garden can benefit from it. Diatomaceous earth is soil obtained from diatoms, the oldest water plants on earth. The plants resemble algae and existed millions of years ago. With time, they decayed to form chalk-like deposits called diatomite. Diatomaceous earth is, then, manufactured from these chalk-like deposits and diatoms that have fossilized.

Is it safe to use diatomaceous earth in your garden?

The type of diatomaceous earth you use will depend on whether it’s safe for your garden or not. With the right form of diatomaceous earth, it’s entirely safe for garden use.

There are two main types of diatomaceous earth: food-grade and filter grade. The difference between the two is that filter grade diatomaceous earth contains higher levels of free silica than food-grade. Thus, the filter grade type has more intense chemicals that may be harmful to surrounding plants and flowers. These chemical contents can harm the plants directly or indirectly by affecting the plants’ soil.

While food-grade ideal soil is ideal for gardens hosting delicate flowers, filter grade diatomaceous earth is often used in swimming pools where more potent chemicals are necessary. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for your garden due to a lower concentration of harmful substances. It contains just the right amount of silica and is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and sodium that are beneficial for the soil.

You can use food-grade diatomaceous earth in your garden as a natural pesticide against pests like ants, aphids, beetles, slugs, and mites. You can also use it in your house to ward off bed bug and cockroach infestations.

Unlike filter grade diatomaceous earth, food-grade diatomaceous earth won’t harm your home’s residents. With most pesticide chemicals, you may fear possible contamination, as these chemicals can pose a threat to your pets and children’s health and safety. With food-grade diatomaceous earth, you’ll only need to use caution when applying it to your garden. To avoid inhaling its powdery dust, wear a mask for protection.

The two main properties of diatomaceous earth that make it safe for garden use are the following. For one, it’s completely natural as it’s naturally-derived from plants. Because of its natural properties, it won’t kill useful microorganisms in the soil. For example, some bacteria produce nitrogen that’s useful to a gardener’s plant life. Employing a harsh pesticide can destroy these beneficial bacteria, wreaking havoc on your garden.

Does it work?

You are probably wondering how diatomaceous earth can contain pesticidal properties while remaining completely natural. Diatomaceous earth doesn’t respond like other standard pesticides you or pest control providers may use in your garden. Instead of killing the pests, it dries them out.

Since it exists in powder form, diatomaceous earth powder particles are shaped like needles. The edge of the powder particle is sharp enough to penetrate the exoskeleton of the insects. The exoskeleton is a skeleton found on the surface of the insect that acts as a protective layer. Once the protective layer is compromised, the powder penetrates it, causing the insect to dry out and die.

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