Organic and Natural Garden Guide for Managing Garden Pests: Part 1

While tending to my own garden plot, I have discovered that one of the most frustrating things that can happen to the gardener is to walk outside to check on the plants. It’s only a habitual walk to verify that your garden is thriving, but you find yourself seeing holes in all your plants which looked just fine merely hours earlier! The explanations for most plant-damaging blemishes are garden insects. A few of the main backyard pests are slugs, worms, caterpillars, birds, snails, and also the occasional gopher. Even though we can most likely never wipe out these vermin entirely, there are a number of methods that may help any garden flourish much more fruitfully, without adding harmful chemical substances to the soil, air, or food.

Insect pests can be among the worst things to have in the garden plot; they can dwell beneath the topsoil, within dead unwanted weeds and heaps of leaves, or in a number of other areas. To help drive insects away, always try to  eliminate places within your garden and also in close proximity to the garden that these bugs and other plant disease might be living. Remove dead vegetation, weeds, or any other moldering material which bugs and diseases might be dwelling from the garden. (A properly tended compost pile is acceptable, although it will nonetheless be prudent to maintain this away from the primary gardening area.) Also, you might want to regularly turn over your garden soil and break apart the clumps of dirt so as to eliminate the homes of certain insects that might be hiding beneath the soil (hoeing your garden to get rid of unwanted weeds throughout the summer season will also help achieve this).

There are certain helps to keeping pests defeated. The constant mixing of  the earth by means of earthworms can be an aid to keep the soil open to air and water. Many of our ordinary birds feed upon bugs. Sparrows, robins, chickadees, meadow larks and orioles are all types of birds who assist in such a way. A number of insects feed on other damaging insects. Certain types of ladybugs do this beneficial deed. The ichneumon-fly helps also. Also toads can be wonders in the quantity of bugs they may eat in one single meal. The toad deserves exceptionally kind treatment from us all.

Every gardener should aim to build his or her garden patch into an area attractive to birds and toads. An adequate birdhouse, seeds strewn about in early spring, as well as a water pool, are invitations for birds to remain some time in your backyard (be aware on the other hand, that some types of birds could create issues, especially if you are cultivating berries or other fruit — see below for more regarding birds). If you would like  to encourage toads, you can actually make things better for them as well. Throughout a hot summer day toads like to hide in the shade. By night he is able to go off to find food (though not to kill, since toads favor live fare). How may one “fix up” for toads? One idea you can try is set up a silent, dim, damp sanctuary. Two or three rocks of some size under the shade of a bush, in addition to possibly a covering of moist vegetation, would seem exceptionally pleasant for a toad.

There are two general types of bugs which can cause issues for your garden patch. One sort chews at the plant and actually devours parts of it. This sort of bug carries a mouth fitted for this work. Grasshoppers and also caterpillars are of this type. Another kind sucks the juices from a plant. Plant lice go here (consider something similar to a mosquito, only they prey on plants rather than humans). Those we see tend to be green in color. But they are sometimes scarlet, yellow or brown. Lice can be simple enough to discover as they are always hanging on their host. Being sucking insects they need to stick close to a plant for food, and it may be simpler to find these. However the chewing insects perform their work, and go off and hide, which makes them more difficult to take care of.

The question you will need to ask yourself is, ‘How can I ascertain what insect could be doing the destructive effect?’ Well, you can judge partly from the damage left behind from the insect, and then partially by seeing the bug itself. This second object is not always very easy to accomplish. For example, you could have cutworms, and not even catch a glimpse of them. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to see what has been done to the crops. If stems of tender crops are cut clean off, one can be pretty assured a cutworm is abroad. What does it look like? Well, this is a hard question because his type is known to be a big one. Should you catch sight of a grayish striped caterpillar hiding in the dirt, you may know it may be a cutworm. However owing to its preference of resting in the dirt throughout the day and eating by nighttime, it is hard to catch a glimpse of one. (Keep your eye out for the next part of this series coming next week, when we are going to talk about how to deter the cutworm, along with other strategies of organic and natural pest management.)

One more pest issue you may have in addition to insects is birds. For those that have small fruit-bearing bushes, you might wrap these by means of bird netting, which may help. An additional solution which may help to keep the birds away from your garden is to place a bird feeder close by — out of the garden patch, but somewhat close by. Instead of costing you time and money by eating your crops, the birds will eat from the bird feeder. Although it may not entirely get rid of the bird problem, it may help the situation. Getting a dog may also help!

If you begin to see heaps of dirt around your yard, and your plants start unexplainably failing (or maybe even vanishing from top to bottom!), you may assume you have a gopher problem.

This could depend on the region where you are located, as certain areas are more prone to gopher infestation than the rest. Gophers are rodents which are five to fourteen inches in length. Their fur might be black, light brown, or white, and they have little tails. One approach to getting rid of these root-devouring pests could be to place traps. The key to effectively catching a gopher using a trap is usually to successfully locate the gopher’s tunnels and set the trap properly. A different way to remove them is to make use of smoke bombs, which you position into the tunnel and then the smoke spreads all through it and hopefully reaches the gopher.

If you suspect your gardens may be being pillaged by some of these pests I discussed, I urge you to definitely try your hardest to eradicate the problem as soon as you can. The more time you let the creatures stay, the more entrenched they’ll grow to be.

In our next blog, we will address some of the more common specific insect pests to infest your garden, and how to manage these without harming yourself or the environment, so be sure to check back for this next week!

‘Til then, happy gardening!

Rose.

P.S. For more resources and tools for managing your garden sustainably and organically, you can always visit: http://www.newholisticliving.com/sustainablegardening.html

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About newholisticliving

Rose Hillbrand runs a blog and website dedicated to holistic living -- living a healthy, balanced lifestyle in all areas -- health, relationships, spirituality, and finances.
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