Carefully executed organic gardening practices ward off opportunistic pest infestations in your kitchen or vegetable garden. However, you cannot eliminate possibilities of garden pest infestations. There a few pests that will strike due to climatic changes and seasonal invasions. How do you deal with such pest infestations naturally? Here is a guide;
Start with the basic garden care routine. Ensure that your soil is nutritious to offer optimal growth conditions that will keep the plants healthy and strong enough to fight pest infestation. Water the crops as required and monitor them regularly so that you notice pest problems and deal with them before they get out of hand. Crops that are stressed by drought and lack of essential nutrients give off signals that attract pests.
Dealing with different pests naturally
Aphids are tiny insects that feed on a wide range of plants by sucking sap. They are active throughout the growth season. Meaning that you must be on the lookout and execute defensive strategies to prevent them from attacking your crops. Defensive strategies include; providing foods like yarrow or mint for aphids because they will be active the entire growth season. Avoid nitrogen over fertilization that triggers lush and juicy shoots that act like aphid magnets.
Organic control: if not too many, crush aphids with your fingers or knock them off with strong water sprays. If the infestation persists, use a safer insect killing soap spray.
Carrot rust fly
These are metallic green and small flies. Their larvae can be destructive because they tunnel into roots and eat root hairs meaning that, they stunt crop growth. Crop rotation is the best way of preventing carrot rust flies. Rotate carrots and delay sowing until late June because they lay eggs during early spring.
Organic control: damage resulting from carrot rust flies is never noticed until the crop is completely damaged. So, watch out for sickly and stunted top carrot growths. Pull out crops with such signs and destroy them. At the end of the growth, season remove debris and destroy them as well.
Colorado potato beetle
Colorado potato beetles attack potato stems and leaves. They are stripped and humpbacked pests. To prevent their attack, rotate potatoes and cultivate in fall after the overwintering adults are exposed and destroyed. Also, go for early maturing varieties to prevent peak attacks.
Organic control: hand pick larvae and adults and drop them in soapy water to die. Destroy all yellow-orange eggs you notice on the potato leaves underside. If the infestation persists, spray them with spinosad.
These are gray-brown caterpillars that feed on crop seedlings and stems at soil level. Turn the soil before sowing to expose them, and secure plant stems with cardboard or rigid paper.
Organic control: prepare bran that is moistened with molasses and sprinkle it over your garden about one week before planting.
Cabbageworm larvae are green and long caterpillars that riddle brassicas leaves with holes. Ward off cabbageworm by placing floating row cover that must be lightweight, water and sun permeable over crop transplants immediately you plant them. The cover should remain in place until your harvest.
Organic control: Destroy visible eggs on leaves, handpick and destroy caterpillars and remove all severely infested crops.
Mexican bean beetle
Spiny yellow larvae and adult Mexican bean beetles skeletonize leaves and munch bean pods. Interplant beans with herbs or flowers and cultivate early bush bean types. Also, use floating row covers before the crops mature to ward off egg laying adults.
Organic control: plant soybeans to trap the pests. Once they strike, destroy the eggs, handpick larvae and adults and spray them with neem.
Nymphs and adult squash bugs suck juices from vine crops like winter squash. So, when planting, go for crop varieties that are squash bug resistant and protect your young crops with floating row covers.
Organic control: trap squash bugs by placing boards on the ground near squash plants and destroy the bugs under the boards next morning. Also, handpick nymphs and adults.
Pests can damage your crops and ultimately discourage you from practicing organic gardening. So, ensure that you are conversant with different organic methods of dealing with pests rampant in your area before you venture into organic gardening.