Welcome to the final installment of our Organic Pest Control series at Mary's Heirloom Seeds. We hope you have picked up a few new tips and tricks for your organic garden. If you have additional questions, please ask. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The oil has a half life of three to 22 days
in soil but only 45 minutes to four days in water. It is nearly
non-toxic to birds, fish, bees and wildlife, and studies have shown no
cancer or other disease causing results from its use. This makes neem
oil very safe to use if applied properly.
Neem oil fungicide is useful against fungi, mildews and rusts when applied in a 1 percent solution.
Apply neem oil only in indirect light
or in the evening to avoid the product burning foliage and allow the
preparation to seep into the plant. Also, do not use neem oil in
extreme temperatures, either too hot or too cold. Avoid application to
plants that are stressed due to drought or over watering.
We have a few more tips for
Organic Pest Control!
Floating Row Covers
This translucent, white, porous polyester fabric acts as an insect
barrier, while letting in up to 80 percent of the available light.You
could keep the crop covered for its entire life span, although this
isn't a good option for crops that require insect pollination.
soap contains unsaturated long-chain fatty acids (derived from animal
fats) that dissolve the cuticle (skin) of insects. Insecticidal soaps
are easy to make at home and can be made from completely organic
be effective, the insecticidal soap must come in contact with the
insects while it's still liquid-it has no effect after it dries on the
plants. Spray only on pests and try to avoid hitting beneficial insects
with the spray.
From Mother Earth News,
top honors as the most bothersome pest in home gardens, with 55 percent
of respondents saying the slimy critters give them trouble year after
year. Handpicking was highly rated as a control measure (87 percent
success rate), followed by iron phosphate baits (86 percent) and diatomaceous earth
(84 percent). Opinion was divided on eggshell barriers (crushed
eggshells sprinkled around plants), with a 33 percent failure rate among
gardeners who had tried that slug control method. An easy home remedy
that received widespread support was beer traps (80 percent success
had sabotaged summer and winter squash for 51 percent of respondents,
and even ducks couldn't solve a serious squash bug problem. Most
gardeners reported using handpicking as their primary defense, along
with cleaning up infested plants at season's end to interrupt the squash
bug life cycle. The value of companion planting for squash bug
management was a point of disagreement for respondents, with 21 percent
saying it's the best control method and 34 percent saying it doesn't
help. Of the gardeners who had tried it, 79 percent said spraying neem
on egg clusters and juvenile squash bugs is helpful. About 74 percent
of row cover users found them useful in managing squash bugs.
Gardeners named zinnias and borage as good companion plants for reducing hornworm problems.
Prevention in Key
The easiest way to prevent insect damage in your garden is to discourage them from coming in the first place.
A healthy garden is the best defense.
Pull out any weak plants. They may already be infected. If not, they will attract predators. Pull the plant and dispose of it away from the garden area.
Build healthy, organic soil. Natural composting methods, mulching and top-dressing your soil with compost or organic fertilizer is the best way to develop strong, vigorous plants.
Interplant and rotate crops. Insect pests
are often plant specific. When plantings are mixed, pests are less
likely to spread throughout a crop. Rotating crops each year is a common
method to avoid re-infestation of pests which have over-wintered in the
Disinfect. If you've been
working with infested plants, clean your tools before moving on to other
garden areas. This will reduce the speed of invading insects.