Organic Pest Control

An overview of organic pest control products

Even the healthiest, cleanest gardens are home to a variety of pests, especially when fruit and vegetables are involved. Tomatoes, potatoes and everything in between become the main attraction to insects in the height of the growing season, but you can't lean on synthetic chemicals to get rid of pests when cultivating an organic garden. Luckily there are several measures you can take to deter, prevent and even kill pests safely and effectively; a little research and comparison will lead to an organic solution that will help out your garden without harming the environment.

Types of Green Pest Control

There is a host of organic remedies for your pest problem, including insecticidal soap, helpful bacteria and companion planting. Of course, not all of them will be as effective for every yard, and they'll likely work at different rates. As opposed to synthetic pesticides, organic farming rests on a philosophy of balance, toleration and patience—a moderate amount of pest damage is tolerated, beneficial predatory insects are encouraged and crops are selected and rotated carefully to deter destructive animals. But while preventative measures are crucial, some cases call for a stronger organic pesticide to ensure a good crop of organic produce.

Many organic pesticides are considered biological, though some are composed of chemical compounds and minerals. An organic insecticide is generally safer to use than a synthetic version, though it may not be more environmentally friendly; some naturally-derived substances are controversial, and have been shunned by many organic gardeners. Be sure that you choose a USDA-approved pesticide, and stick with essential oils and natural plant ingredients that target specific pests instead of a catch-all product that can wipe out all your insect allies.

Best Organic Pest Control

While many organic pest control products resemble homemade concoctions, think twice about creating your own natural pesticides—you may wind up harming your garden and the environment as much as you would with synthetic pesticides. Take borax and icing sugar for instance, a fairly well-known remedy for several garden pests. The combination of borate and a sweet substance can appeal to ants, though it's also toxic for them, and can make its way through the ant colony quickly and effectively. However, the amount of borate used is crucial, as too little has no effect on ants and too much will be unappealing to them, not to mention it can make pets and people seriously ill.

While beer for slug traps and tobacco extract sprayed on plants can safely reduce certain pests, your best bet will be to stick to registered and approved organic pest control products for most infestations, and use them properly. When it comes to your garden supplements, less is more—you should rely on healthy soil and clean plants to keep many of the pests at bay, and choose an appropriate level of pest control for your pest problem.