Natural Health Tips

Organic Gardening Tips: Eliminate Bugs and Pests Without Chemicals

When growing your own produce organically, it can be difficult to find a safe alternative to artificial chemicals and fertilizers to keep your plants free from pests and diseases. Here are some tips to eliminate those bugs and diseases, and successfully grow your fruits and vegetables organically.

  • Improve your soil. Good soil promotes healthy plant growth. Dig in good-quality compost, ideally homemade compost, into the soil or spread across the surface, where weather and worms will work them in.

  • Choose the right plants. Strong plants are less likely to succumb to diseases or pests, so always grows plants that are suitable for your site and soil. Choose naturally disease-resistant varieties whenever you can, such as blight-resistant tomatoes and or carrots that are resistant to carrot fly. These varieties are clearly labeled on the seed packets.

  • Control diseases naturally. Rotate your crops by changing the position of your vegetable crops each year to prevent the built up of diseases in the soil. Also, don't let plants dry out - they'll become stressed and vulnerable to disease.

  • Control weeds naturally. Prevent weeds by spreading a layer of mulch such as bark or composted straw across the soil. If weeds appear, pull them up before they set seed.

  • Use wildlife. There is no need to reach for a chemical spray when your plants come under attack. Instead, attract animals, birds and insects into your garden and they'll do the work for you. Hedgehogs and toads eat slugs and snails, while ladybirds help to eliminate aphids, which attack most vegetables.

  • Try companion planting. Grow strongly scented plants alongside crops so they either confuse pests or attract them away from the vegetables. For instance, plant French marigolds near tomatoes to deter whitefly, and onions near carrots to deter carrot fly.

  • Inspect plants regularly. Prevent pests from becoming problems by regularly inspecting plants. Caterpillars can be removed from leaves by hand and diseased parts of plants can be pruned out before they have a chance to spread.

  • Control insects naturally. If you have big pest problems you can use biological controls bought from mail-order suppliers. There are many available, which can control specific pests.

    Other ways to control certain pests is by homemade deterrents. For example, a solution of garlic sprayed onto plants is one way to deter aphids and slugs.