When it comes to keeping your garden flourishing, there’s nothing more disheartening than discovering pesky plant-munching pests have invaded your vegetable patch. Keeping your garden pest-free is important. When a large infestation occurs, crops can often be wiped out entirely by these uninvited guests.
As gardeners become more and more aware of the potential dangers of exposure to synthetic chemical pesticides, many of us want to skip the sprays altogether and turn to alternative methods instead. There are a few simple ways to keep on top of managing your garden and ensuring you are providing the best maintenance you can without having to resort to harsh chemicals. In this post, I list some of the ways you can incorporate different activities to maintain your garden and keep it disease and pest free for longer!
Keep Your Garden Pest-Free
Planting the same crops time and time again means that any crafty critters who have taken a liking to them will continue to return, multiplying in numbers and wreaking havoc on your vegetables! By rotating your crops, you can keep your garden pest-free as they’re much more likely to move elsewhere when the plant they love so much is no longer available to them.
Chop & Drop
My friend A Lil’ Bit Hippie recommends this and uses it often. She suggests when removing your harvest, leave behind some of the outside leaves, such as on a cabbage, and any pests that may be in the garden will go for those and not decimate the rest of your left over crop or damage anything else. It also provides additional resource for the soil as it starts to rot down.
Cloches and Fruit Cages
An immediate and safe alternative to pesticides, cloches and fruit cages create instant protection against pests by providing shelter around your crops. Excellent for protecting against both airborne and ground-dwelling pests, these economical, portable ‘polytunnels’ are used on veg patches or flower beds, as and when you need them. These are a great way to keep your garden pest-free.
Essential Oils for a Pest-Free Garden
Believe it or not, many essential oils can provide excellent protection and keep your garden pest-free. Certain essential oils make for fantastic pest repellents too. Peppermint oil helps to keep bugs, beetles, fleas, spiders, and ants at bay. Rosemary oil can help protect against larvae, including the notorious cabbage looper caterpillar! Whilst cedarwood and pine oils help to reduce the number of slugs and snails in your garden. Lemongrass, in natural form and essential oil, will keep flies and mosquitos away.
Make your Own Pest Repellent
Why not make your own repellent at home from natural ingredients? All you need is a pure essential oil of your choice (such as peppermint or cedarwood) and olive oil. Simply mix 250ml of olive oil with 40-50 pipette drops of your essential oil (this is the bit that will keep your garden pest-free!) Stir well until it forms a solution. And that’s it! Just remember to do a small patch test first before applying it to the rest of your vegetable patch.
Companion planting involves some planning, but is an excellent long term solution to helping not only keep pests away, but also encourage pollination by inviting the good bugs along, including bees! Companion planting also reduces waste, encourages seasonality with your planting and provides an array of medicinal and edible herbs that can be grown as well. It really is a method to be used in any type of garden setting.
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