Monday, February 9, 2009

Pesticides in the Garden

Many gardeners discuss the use of pesticides in the garden. Some people believe in sprays and other do not. In my garden, I prefer to use what I call two, four, six and eight legged critter control as my pest control. I do not use pesticides in my garden or my greenhouse. I prefer natural methods and I let mother nature control many of my pest problems. I have had good results of not having many bug problems. Here are some steps that will make gardening easier without the use of pesticides.

  • Keep a clean garden. Rake up old leaves and remove foliage that has dropped from the plant on the ground. Pest and eggs can remain in the plant waste.
  • Observe your plants and watch for pest problems. Many pest can be removed from plants by a spray of water from the hose (like aphids) or can be hand picked off and destroyed like bag worms or japanese beetles.
  • Try companion planting in your garden. This is where you plant a plant next to another plant that can provide certain benefits like being a insect repellent.
  • Use beneficial insects in your garden like ladybugs, praying mantis or lacewings.
  • Keep your plants and soil healthy.
  • Select plants that are known not to have or have little pest problems.

I found that when I added ponds, bird houses and bat houses that many animals that feed on bugs came to my garden. I now have frogs, toads, birds and bats that feed on a large amount of insects, slugs, and snails reducing my pest problems. I also add praying mantis to my garden. Praying mantis are considered a beneficial insect. They like to lay their eggs on burning bushes. The egg case can contain hundreds of eggs and it is about the size of a walnut. The color is light brown. I remove them when I find them and store them in a jar in a cool place during the winter then move them into the garden in the spring. When they hatch they spread in the garden and start eating the pest. When you spray for insects, it normally kills everything including the beneficial insects.

I would like to hear your comments on controlling insect pest in the garden. Please send me your comments and share your ideas. I will post your comments pro or con on using pesticides.

The Creative Gardener

6 comments:

Tatyana said...

Debbie, I agree with you, 100%. I am behind in adding bird houses and bats to my garden... Your post will be as a reminder for me to work on this. I guess my boys will be excited about bats! Bats will be cooler than those lady bugs that ran away next day after I put them in the garden. Probably, there was not enough water for them.

queenofseaford said...

Hi Debbie,
Sound horticultural practices make for a balanced garden. We have praying mantis in our garden....the tiny ones are so so tiny! I am amazed when I see one. They are fun for the kids to watch as well.
Janet

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

I had great success with ladybugs. We have a plum tree that gets infested. Last year my daughter and I bought ladybugs and they just went to town. My daughter had a blast watching those ladybugs crawl all over the tree. They reproduced and no more aphids the rest of the summer in that area.

Jan said...

Debbie, I don't use any pesticides either, and I have not had any real problems that can't be controlled with hand-picking off pests or soapy water. Even though I have a large garden, nature seems to keep things pretty much under control. I had a neighbor across the street who was a chemical advocate and used them liberally, but gradually, after seeing how my garden made out, he has stopped. No problems in his garden either now.

Jan
Always Growing

Barbarapc said...

My favourite method to rid the garden of Japanese Beetles is my bucket of death. I'll tap the stems of the infested plants - the beetles let go of their perch, falling into the water-filled bucket and drown. Found that after 3 days or so - there really aren't too many more to kill. Can't think of any pesticide that would work as well?

Cathy said...

I agree with you all the way...since I have a
grub problem and also have half an acre of land,
I put Milky Spores on my lawn to get rid of the infestation of the Japanese Beetles. They almost destroyed my garden last year. So I try to keep all the leaves raked, since I have dogs I am deathly afraid of using any pesticides.