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Every garden comes with its fair share of pests. After all, who wouldn't want a piece of that beautiful tomato hanging on your vine? The trouble is, if you’re aiming towards organic gardening in your back yard, controlling these pests can be tricky. You don’t want all of your garden-fresh produce harvested with holes. Here are some tips for tried-and-true environmentally-friendly natural remedies to discourage pests in your garden.
As with many things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Stopping encroaching pests and weeds early is much easier than solving a problem later. Minimize areas that encourage and breed bugs. That means clearing away dead plants, piles of leaves, and keeping close tabs on all of your garden plants to make sure that they’re always free of small signs of pests. Use clean, dry mulch, instead of piles of moist leaves that could house a host of harmful insects.
There are several animals that naturally prey on the creatures that love munching on your garden. Enlisting their help is a perfect natural way to control the population of harmful species. Certain insects can be released in your garden in order to police the local insect population. You can also attract them to your yard by planting strategically.
Ladybugs can be attracted to your garden by plants like daisies, yarrow, and tansy. They eat aphids, whiteflies, and scale. Lacewings are also big aphid eaters, and they’re attracted by yarrow as well. You can also draw them in with goldenrod or black-eyed susans. Damselbugs can be handy because they eat eggs and larvae of parasitic insects. Note that they might also eat other beneficial insects, though. You can attract them with spearmint and marigold.
But how about the bane of gardeners everywhere… slugs? These creatures are usually too large for beneficial insects to take care of for you, and the way that they hide in the soil can make them hard to track. Many gardeners report physically hand-picking them off of your plants as the most effective way to rid yourself of them. However, there are some predators who can help you here too: fowl. If you have ducks or chickens around, letting them wander your garden now and then will keep your plants free of slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied pests.