Saturday, June 20, 2015

Organic Pest Control Part 4 (final)

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

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June 19, 2015

As we said in Part 3,  "As with any form of organic growing, not every method works for everyone.  THIS is why we offer a multi-part series for organic pest control."

Here's a link to Our Videos for more info. 
If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask.

Organic Pest Control
Part 4   

In Part 1, we share about using Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in the Garden.  We've used DE for years with success.

In Part 2, we shared detailed info about Companion Planting to reduce harmful pests in the garden and help boost crop yields with interplanting. We love Companion Planting!

Part 3 included Organic Pest Control Recipes that you can make yourself.  We also announce a product, Organic Neem Oil.  We also use Organic Neem Oil in our own garden.

About Neem Oil
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.

Insecticidal 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 ingredients.
To 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,
Slugs took 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 rate).

Squash bugs 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 bed.

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.

Recent Articles:

Using Organic Neem Oil in the Garden

JUNE Seed Planting Guide for the US by Region

Mung Bean Sprout Tutorial

Benefits of Cayenne with Tincture Recipe

If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 

Happy Planting,

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1 comment:

Angela said...

We've been doing organic pest control because the slugs want to eat my hosta plants which won't tolerate normal pesticides. Coffee grounds and crushed egg shells are doing the trick!