Vegetable gardens are an owner’s pride. They are planned and planted with great efforts. However, garden pests are one of the most prevalent problems faced by gardeners. If you too own a garden, you must have battled these pesky creatures at some point or other to protect your vegetable garden. The good news is that you need not resort to chemical-laden pesticides.
If you know them well, you can arm yourself accordingly to effectively eliminate them. This article will help you understand the most commonly occurring garden pests and learn about 5 natural and effective ways in which you can keep them away.
Types of Vegetable Garden Pests
• Slugs and snails are among the most common types of garden pests. They feed on numerous species of plants and vegetables and young seedlings are among their favorites. They mostly feed at night or on rainy days and leave irregular holes in leaf margins or centers.
• Squash bugs usually infect all members of the cucumber family such as cucumbers, zucchini, melons, squash and pumpkins. Their presence is indicated by rapid wilting of the plant.
• Tobacco or tomato hornworms are also some of the most destructive garden pests which destroy plants like tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, tobacco and eggplants. The presence can easily identified by eaten leaves often towards the top of the plants.
• Cabbage worms or cabbage worm caterpillars feed on cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, turnip, radish, Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi. They chew holes in flower clusters and leaves. In case of severe infestation, they can cause complete defoliation.
• Both winged and non-winged aphids also feed on many species of vegetable plants such as lettuce, cabbage, kale and tomatoes. They feed on plant juices which results in distorted and deformed plant growth. They usually feed in large numbers.
5 Natural Ways to Keep These Vegetable Garden Pests Away
1. Keeping your garden free from any kind of debris is the simplest thing you can do to ensure that it stays pest free. Some pests feed and thrive on debris and for most of them it makes for a good hiding place. You should also remove the weeds frequently as they too provide good hiding spots for garden pests.
2. Grow different types of plants in your garden. Growing only a single type of plant increases the chance of pest infestation as the pests which love that plant might invade the garden in a group and destroy the entire crop. However, in case of multiple types of crops, the risk is considerably reduced.
3. Crop rotation has numerous benefits and reducing the chances of pest infestation is one of them. If you plant the same crops again and again, the pests which love that crop will multiply and wreak havoc on your vegetable garden. Hence, it’s best to change crops every season. If you have planted watermelons this season, you can plant cabbage next time on the same plot.
4. Certain essential oils make for fantastic pest-repellents too. For instance, peppermint oil helps remove squash bugs, beetles, fleas, aphids, spiders and ants. Clove oil helps keep numerous flying insects at bay. If slugs and snails are destroying your vegetable garden, cedar wood and pine oils can help fight both these vegetable garden pests. Rosemary oil can help protect your vegetable garden from fleas, flies, mosquitoes and more importantly insect larvae such as the cabbage looper caterpillar. Neem oil acts as an effective natural pesticide on over 200 species of insects.
5. Certain insect-repelling flowering plants can also act as natural deterrents to home garden pests. Celery and broccoli are two such examples. Even herbs like cloves, garlic etc., help keep the pests away.
You can make your own natural insect repellents with these instructions:
Plants naturally create some oils to protect themselves from insects. Following are some essential oils that naturally repel insects that you can use to make garden insect repellents:
• Tea Tree
Method: To make a natural insect repellent we can use either water or oil as the base and then add 40-50 drops of any of the essential oils with the base and prepare the solution. If you want to make insect repellent oil based then you need to add 8 ounces of base oil (it can be grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil or neem oil) to the essential oil. The method differs with water as the base, since it is difficult to mix water with oil and therefore you will need to add 4 ounces of an emulsifier (it can be aloe Vera gel, witch hazel, vinegar or vodka) with 4 ounces of water to the essential oil for preparing the solution.
Precaution: Before using any of the homemade insect repellents for the vegetable plant it is recommended to test by spraying little portion on the plants so as to ensure it won't harm the plant. Also, avoid using detergents or bleaching agents in any of the mixture.
These effective natural ways will surely help you protect your vegetable garden from the various home garden pests. If the infestation is severe, you may want to consider seeking the help of professional pest control experts. There are several companies which offer natural or chemical-free pest control options for home garden pests.
Raymond Web has taken upon him the task to educate people on pest prevention and control strategies helping them keep their surroundings healthy, safe and pest-free. Being the digital marketing manager for Take Care Termite and Pest Control, in Tracy, CA, he has in-depth understanding of people and their pain points due to pests, which he efficiently uses in his content to educate people and add value to their lives.