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There are natural ways to control pests in our gardens, however, we do not often consider these methods. It is easier to go to the garden supply store and purchase a chemical for this purpose. With our environment saturated with caustic substances it is time to stop and think. What are we are leaving for our children and their children? Our forefathers used organic methods in farming and gardening. They held within themselves a wealth of knowledge using simple methods.

It is for certain the very best gardener will not avoid the pests that will visit his or her garden. The moment we become smug and think we are doing great as far as the little bugs go, then here they come flying in on wings of “desire” for your veggie delicacies.

And here you are facing down these tiny monsters, and the size comparatively to human beings makes no difference. Pound for pound the insect holds a great deal of power! So put on your armor and let’s go!

First instinct is to annihilate these destructive little creatures with a chemical spray. However on second thought let’s try other method!

1. Judge the damage, is it just a few holes in the leaves? Aesthetically unpleasant but does it really matter to the soundness of the plant? If insignificant then perhaps controlling the problem is not necessary.
2. Try to identify what is eating your plant. Look for excrement on the leaves and try to actually see the pests perhaps under the leave or at the base of the plant at the soil line. Some, such as slugs, are nocturnal so look at dusk or early morning. You can find at any library books on insects to compare and correctly identify them.
3. The life cycle is important to understand, the peak of each season, the eggs and how they appear.
Plan your defense, if damage becomes unalterable, try one of the suggestions listed below.

There are plants bred for their resistance to certain pests. This should be a consideration early each season upon selection of your plants.
* When the season is over remove dead and rotting plants, as some insects winter in this debris. You don’t need them next year! Cultivating the soil also helps to destroy wintering pests.
* Rotate crops from year to year, as this can interfere with life cycles of some insects.
* Plan the time you choose to plant your garden. Certain plants can be successfully planted earlier or later to avoid the peak season of some bugs.
* Keep the soil healthy. Too much nitrogen, a pH that is too low or high and poor drainage encourages our un-wanted friends. Water well and early in the day so that plants will dry before evening since this is the time favorable to disease and infection. Pull or cultivate weeds. Try not to weaken your plants when cultivating as this makes them more susceptible to infestation.
* Plants need light; most need at least 6 hours of full sun. Make sure there is enough room between plants for good air ventilation.

Take Action!
* Hand pick the critter and its eggs off of the plants.
* Use predators (other insects) that feed on garden pests.
* Use soap sprays.

Pyrethrum:
This is a poison made from the flower heads of Chrysanthemums. Careful! Some people may be allergic to the flowers.

Pyrethrum Dust:
Pick the flowers (Chrysanthemums) while the petals are soft and fresh and the pollen in the center of the flower is just beginning to release. The flowers need to dry out of direct sunlight and then grind the flower heads.

Pyrethrum Spray:
Using methyl alcohol, soak the ground flower heads at least overnight. Dilute with 100% more water before using. Store in dark containers that are sealed well. They soon break down if exposed to light.

“Smelly” but effective natural repellent:
1 ½ tablespoon liquid soap
1 or 2 garlic bulbs
1 small onion
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 quart water

Blend garlic, onion, pepper, and water in blender
Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes
Add liquid soap
This will need to be used immediately or stored in tightly sealed container in refrigerator it will last approximately one week.

Happy gardening!