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How to control pest insects in your garden using your garden

Picture of how to control pest insects in your garden using your garden
How frustrating is it when you put so much work and effort into a garden, and then like out of nowhere, your plants are nearly ruined from insects munching on them?  I’m going to explain how you can control the insects that feed on your precious crops.
 
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Step 1: Blossom!

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The key to controlling insects is not pesticide.  Pesticide will kill all the beneficial insects and microbes as well.  The key is flowers.  The effect of the flowers is at least three fold.  They confuses insects that will attack your plants, they attract predatory insects, which are also pollinators.

Step 2: Diversify!

Picture of diversify!
The important thing is variety.  Scatter your flowers throughout your garden.  When I say that, obviously you want to plan so they will be good companions to your other plants, but you want flowers growing along with your vegitables.

Here’s some flowers and plants I would recommend planting:
  • A few marigolds (which are good with tomatoes)
  • Borage is amazing for attracting bees (give it some space it will spread)
  • Sunflowers and bird houses and feeders will attract birds (a bad thing if you have seeds starting, but a great thing if your plants are semi-established (birds will eat the bugs too)
  • Herbs like basil, bee balm, catnip, dill, Echinacea, evening primrose, fennel, lavender, parsley, poppy, thyme and sage will all attract pollinators too.
  • Check out this site too.  It has some great information for specific insects

The cool thing too is that everything I’ve suggested is edible!  However, be warned that not every part of the plants I’ve suggested are edible.  Do your research.  There’s tons of info out there.
dchall82 years ago
I control pests by making my soil as healthy as possible. I switched to an organic gardening program 10 years ago and my disease and pest problems have mostly gone away. Those few tomato worms I get are solved with BT Worm Killer.

The other big helper is wasps.  Mud dauber wasps eat spiders hiding in dark places.  Paper wasps eat caterpillars. 
calskin (author)  dchall82 years ago
That's a great method! There's 100s of ways to control pests that don't require chemicals.

A great statement I've heard is that true gardeners grow soil and the soil grows the plants.

How to you attract the wasps? Do they cause any stinging problems while you're working out there?
dchall8 calskin2 years ago
They go where the caterpillars are. I don't attract them. They don't sting unless you really bother them.  Swinging your arms around is a sure way to get stung.  Holding your arms down to your side is your best defense.  Close your eyes if you have to.  Learn not to antagonize them. 

I have a nest outside my back door.  The nest is heavy and hanging down to interfere with the back door.  I'm going to see if I can go all season without going out the back door (I live alone at that house).  Then when they abandon the nest in the fall I'll relocate it.  Before I realized the door was hitting the nest, I had them swarm me but only for a second.  One banged me in the forehead and landed on my glasses.  A second later he flew back to the nest.  You have to learn to be that calm. 
calskin (author)  dchall82 years ago
Wow. You have far more patience that I would have.

I hope it goes well.
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