Without a doubt, organic pest control is the way to go (and usually less work than you imagine).
Here at Kauai Seascapes Nursery we’re very excited about organic gardening, and we imagine many of you are, too!
You work so hard at growing a beautiful and bountiful garden but then the harmful insects come and harvest the rewards. What’s a gardener to do?
Here are 5 ways organic pest control protects your garden:
1. Organic Pest Control Helps Maintain Biodiversity
“In nature nothing exists alone.”
– Rachel Carson
One of the dangers of traditional pesticides is that they can really cut down on the biodiversity of your garden (and of the environment in general). When you employ traditional pesticides in the hopes of driving away one pest, you may be inadvertently pushing away helpful animals and insects. This is not good. Trust me, you want biodiversity in your garden. Long term ecological balance is based on biodiversity, so by using organic pest control you ensure your gardens future successes.
For instance, we all know that bees are responsible pollinating everything from mangoes to orchids. Bees are essential to a healthy garden (and to agriculture in general). It would be a shame, then, to drive them away (or even harm them) with conventional pesticides.
Using organic pest control you can maintain a balanced, biodiverse garden without compromising the health of your plants or of the insects that you do want in your garden.
2. Preserve Beneficial Soil Microbes
We’ve written before about how the microbes in the soil can help improve your mood. In addition to that, the microbes in the soil are also essential to the health of your plants.
Healthy plants = Tasty plants = Happy gardener!
This quote from Dave’s Garden sums it up nicely:
“We can readily say that microbes are the workhorses of our gardens. Microbes make nutrients in the soil available to plants in a form the plants can use. Microbes create some of those nutrients, and we (with Nature’s help) add the rest. Because the plants are healthier, they resist disease better, and tolerate environmental stress better.”
3. A Safer Garden
Have a look at the following list:
- sulfuric acid
- diesel fuel
- aromatic petroleum hydrocarbon
- nitrous oxide
- boric acid
What do all of these nasty chemicals have in common?
They’re all FDA-permitted “inert ingredients” in pesticides. You wouldn’t want to get any of these in your eyes, skin, or mouth…so why put them in your garden? Even if you’re not using them on plants you intend to eat, you’re still introducing them into your garden environment. Which may end up being more harmful than helpful.
If you have children, you’ll certainly want to include them in your joyous gardening hobby. When you use organic pest control methods, you can worry less about exposing your children or pets to toxic chemicals.
4. Increased Awareness of Your Environment
“The earth is what we all have in common.”
– Wendell Berry
A big part of organic pest control involves changing the way you think about “pest control.” Instead of just substituting organic alternatives for conventional pesticides, you instead learn about nature’s own forms of regulating pests.
Take aphids, for example. Enemy of gardeners everywhere. Instead of turning to a chemical pesticide, you might consider attracting lady bugs, which eat aphids (and beautify your garden). Or you might try planting mint, garlic, onions, or chives, all of which are plants that aphids naturally avoid.
If you need extra help, there are certainly safer organic alternatives (see below for a list of some of the ones we stock).
5. Healthier Food
Given the choice between food covered in nasty chemicals and food that isn’t, wouldn’t you choose the latter?
Take the case of kale. If you’re struggling with slugs eating your kale plants, you could turn to a conventional slug killer. However, then you run the risk of harming other beneficial animals and insects. Not to mention, putting nasty chemicals near your food. Instead, you could use an organic product like Sluggo (which uses naturally occurring iron phosphate and is safe for pets/wildlife) and avoid toxicity concerns altogether.
This is one of the great advantages of growing your own food–you can choose what goes into it from planting to harvest.
Where To Go From Here
To learn more about organic pest control, check out the following resources:
Also, here are a few of the organic pest control products we stock at the nursery:
- Monterey Ant Control – In addition to controlling ants, it also helps repel earwigs, cutworms, sowbugs, pillbugs, crickets, snails and slugs.
- Diatomaceous Earth Powder – This substance feels like fine powder to humans, but it actually contains tiny sharp crystals that kill insects. Useful for controlling ants, earwigs, cockroaches, silverfish, bed bugs, crickets, slugs, millipedes and centipedes. Especially useful because insects can’t develop a resistance to it.
- Neem Oil Concentrate/Spray – Produced from the fruit of the Indian Neem tree, this can help control black spot, powdery mildew, rust, needle rust, downy mildew, spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, twig and tip blight, anthracnose, scab and flower, botrytis, alternaria, and other insect pests (whew!). One of the main products we use at the nursery.
All of the above products are certified organic by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), a private, non-profit organization that determines if a product meets the USDA qualifications for organic gardening.
If you’re unsure what’s right for your situation, that’s okay!
Stop by the nursery and we can advise you on the best solution for your particular gardening needs.
Wishing you a pest-free garden!