Organic Pest Control for the Garden

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You put in all this effort getting your garden to finally sprout. Then you go outside one day and all of your plants are chewed to the ground. Sometimes it’s so extensive that it looks like you never had any flowers in that bed at all. But rather than running out and buying the harshest pest control on the market, there’s a gentler way. Try using organic pest control.

The EPA has a laundry list of major types of symptoms when exposed to pesticides, including increased risk of cancer, headaches, nausea and muscular weakness, to name just a few. In fact, the EPA recommends you use non-chemical methods of pest control where possible. So below we’ll cover different ideas for organic pest control in the garden.

These options for organic pest control tend to be low for expense and time investment, as well. For instance, you can buy organic deer repellant sprays for around $15 a bottle or some methods require items you may already have around the home.

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Organic Pest Control Plant Spray

Organic sprays are made to be less toxic. Image: ArtCookStudio/Shutterstock

Organic Methods Using Applied Products

Purchasing your organic pest control can be as simple as buying a safer, more natural product instead of a chemical-laden one. Some ideas include the following:

  • Many biopesticides use safe, naturally occurring protozoa, bacteria and fungi to keep out unwanted species.
  • Botanical insecticides are made from plants, as the name suggests. For instance, neem oil is a common all-natural insecticide, fungicide and miticide. You can find it in a concentrate for these purposes.
  • Low-toxicity fungicides also count as an organic method.
  • Organic scented sprays can repel pests, like deer repellant.
  • Irish Spring soap has a very strong smell that might repel certain pests. Hang bars of the soap from trees in mesh bags.

Many online and local retailers in the organics, natural and eco-friendly industry sell these types of products.

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Organic Pest Control Bug Trap Outdoors

Bug traps are a safe, low-impact way to control pests. Image: bblitz/Shutterstock

Physical Organic Pest Control Methods

In some cases, you can easily keep pests away from your garden with physical means. Some ways to engage in this type of organic pest control include the following:

  • Traps and lures like bug traps or live traps can work.
  • Try physical barriers like putting up a wire or electric fence around the garden. Copper tape and flash tape are even sold to capture or scare pests like snails and birds.
  • One common way to keep animals away is to put up statues, like deer decoys, to make the pests think another animal is already in that territory. Move the decoy around to make it look convincing.
  • Find plants that repel the animal you are looking to keep out. For instance, deer tend to not like overly potent plants, so you might plant items like mint, rosemary or sage around the perimeter of the garden.
  • You can buy strobe lights or flashing lights that can scare off pests. Automated water sprinklers sold as animal repellants can have a similar effect.

A main benefit with barriers, decoys and traps is that you don’t have to continually reapply solutions, which could save on the garden budget.

And remember, don’t be afraid to try multiple organic pest control methods. Once a pest munches your garden, it’s hard to regrow, especially late in the season.

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