You work so hard on your garden, filled with excitement as you care for your plants and await your harvest. But what happens when you get out there and find that a pest has eaten your harvest? It’s very disappointing so in this post, we’ll show you how to care for your garden and keep these critters out so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Below, we have six ways to keep your garden naturally pest-free.
6 Natural Ways to Prevent Garden Pests
Plant helpful plant species
One of our favorite means of keeping pests out of your garden is by planting other plants that discourage harmful insects. Three of the best plants are parsley, dill, and cilantro. These three herbs attract tons of beneficial pests and provide excellent food sources for many of the insects that would ordinarily feed on your prized plants. These herbs also attract more beneficial garden pests than any other plant which brings us to our next point…
Encourage helpful insects
The first thing you can do to encourage helpful insects is to follow step one and plant lots of parsley, dill, and cilantro.
Additionally, consider adding some insects to your garden. For example, if you’re suffering from an aphid issue, then hatch ladybugs in your garden. They’ll feed on the aphids and handle the problem, keeping your garden organic. Most nurseries will have ladybug packs that you can purchase for cheap and sprinkle in your garden.
Other beneficial insects include praying mantis, beneficial spiders, ground beetles, and green lacewings just to name a few. Even though we’re in the central valley, your garden may not have the same pests as ours. With that in mind, the best thing you can do is to figure out which pest you have in your garden and then do a quick Google to find out which beneficial garden insect feeds on that pest.
Put up a fence
If you’re getting rabbits and other ground-dwelling creatures in your garden, it’s a good idea to put up a simple fence to keep them out. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, you can simply plant some wooden stakes in the ground every 3 feet or so and then wrap chicken wire around the perimeter, securing it to the stakes.
Make sure that your wooden stakes are firmly planted into the ground and that your chicken wire is tight so that animals can’t dig under it. It’s a good idea to dig a trench around your garden so that you can bury your wire into the soil about 4-6 inches beneath the surface. This can help prevent the animals from digging underneath the wire and slipping into your garden.
Use ground eggshells for snails
If you like to eat eggs for breakfast then we have good news for you. You can use the eggshells in your garden to keep snails out and they have the added benefit of being nutrient-rich for your soil.
To use eggshells, you can simply let your shells dry out for a day or two by placing them in the sun. Once fully dry, blend them in a coffee grinder. You’ll get a fine powder that you can sprinkle around the base of your plants. The eggshells are like glass to the snail’s body so they don’t like crawling over them so your plants will be safe.
And if you followed the beneficial insect’s step and hatched some ground beetles, they’ll also help to eat the snails at the same time.
Oils and soaps
There are lots of natural pest sprays you can make for your garden. One of the easiest recipes is to take a cup of vegetable oil, a few drops of dish soap, a few drops of peppermint oil, some cayenne pepper, and a little garlic for good measure. Mix them together and spray your plants. This cocktail can help prevent lots of pests including aphids, mites, whiteflies, and other small insects.
Net your fruits
Your fruit and vegetables are vulnerable to birds so it’s a good idea to put netting over them. There’s nothing worse than discovering your cherries have all been pecked and eaten before you got to enjoy them. Fortunately, you can find netting for a pretty low price both on amazon and usually at the nurseries in Modesto, CA. Simply cast the net over your plants and fruit trees, secure the bottom with some wooden stakes and you’re in business.
If you have garden pests we encourage you to do your best to keep your garden organic and avoid using insecticides. Instead, use the steps above to encourage a natural ecosystem in your garden. This is good for your plants, the environment, your body, and helps you year after year rather than just when your garden has been sprayed. This system also encourages helpful bacteria within your soil which is very important for your plant and garden health as a whole.