Organic Pest Control is a subject asked about by almost every gardener, especially with Vegetable Gardens. Pests can come in many disguises, with 2, 4 or 6 legs or none, also they may be plants (weeds) or just overly aggressive plants trying to take over our garden spaces. So how do we keep some of our hard work for ourselves while keeping with the Organic Principles of gardening? First, we can identify which pest(s) we have, then make our controls specific to those problems.
Organic Weed Control
With weeds, we can first try prevention, then pulling or removing them. Using Weed Block Fabrics and Mulching can help limit the weeds, a good sharp hoe will cut roots below the surface, and Spray Herbicides can spot spray persistent weeds. Nature’s Avenger, an orange based product, is actually faster at spot removal of weeds than many of the commercial herbicides with the advantage that waiting time to replant is hours instead of days or weeks before re-use of the soil! Nature’s Avenger is available in ready to use spray, or as concentrate so you can do large areas economically. Reseeding or re-sodding can be a weekend project, not a month long chore.
Weed Ban from Fertrell is designed for lawns and established plantings. A Corn Gluten product, it will prevent secondary rooting in weed seeds, but break down to a slow released nitrogen source for the established plants. Do not confuse this with the “Weed and Feed” sold for your lawns. You can control your lawn by using Organic products, and mowing regularly so weeds never get a chance to go to seed.
Organic Insect Control
When it comes to the insect pests, It is always tempting to “Kill em all and sort it out later”, but a better approach is to get specific. This way you aren’t removing all those beneficial insects, the predators to the pests you don’t want. Several pests can be controlled using Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) in one of its forms. This is a bacteria common in nature, that specific strains have been chosen for targeted use, like mosquito larvae or tomato horn worm and cabbage looper. These are powders or granules that are applied broadly over the plants or other areas. These will parasitize the insects at vulnerable stages of their development. Dipel is a form for the worms that works well and quickly for your tomatoes and cucumbers, cabbages and broccoli. Mosquito Dunks and Bits are available to use in ponds, swampy areas, rain barrels or anywhere you have standing water, or that flood and drain.
Helping the little monsters decide to move on is another strategy of pest prevention. We carry Mosquito Barrier for your Yard and Garlic Barrier for the garden. Both of these are Garlic-based products that have a strong odor for a few minutes, but then becomes unnoticeable to our noses. The bugs can tell for WEEKS! So, they just leave! The Garlic Barrier repels leaf eaters, boring and sap sucking insects including Aphids, White flies, Thrips, Mealybugs and many more. It is safe to use on Vegetable, Flower gardens. and Fruit trees.
If you just can’t convince them to go, we have products to lower their population. Neem Oil and Azadirachtin will work either as leaf spray or a soil drench. Azadirachtin is the active ingredient extracted from the Neem Seed, the oil we carry is 100% Neem seed oil. Both work as anti-feedants when ingested by the insect. They are also a growth disruptor for insects making them unable to progress to the next instar of their maturation. Seacide by Fertrell is an insecticidal oil and fungicide effective on many pests as a suffocant and as a fungicide to prevent greasy spot and other fungus related problems. It is derived from Cottonseed and fish emulsions, so is safe to use right up until harvest.
Around the house and kitchen are places where pests can be more than annoying, so to help with these problems we have Orange Guard, an Orange based Insect control spray. It works as an “On Contact” killer, yet is safe to use around food storage and preparation areas. It works fast, and has a pleasant scent of oranges, naturally.
One of the safest, yet most effective tools in the pest control arsenal is Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE). This has proven to be effective because there is no way for the insect to evolve immunity to it. It is effective against all insects, Fleas, Ticks, Roaches, Bed bugs, and is safe to use around food and on your pets. It is safe enough, being “Food Grade” to be ingested by pets and people! The “shell flour” is actually a shell from pre historic sea life, containing silica dioxide. This is also a common additive to baking mixes to keep them from clumping. The greatest caution is to not get a face full of dust, and do not use in the garden if pollinators will be present. It will affect bees if dusted when the plants are flowering! This is as close to a safe, wonder product for pest control there is.