As an amateur gardener and vegan i wanted to start off growing vegetables in the right way, and for me personally that was by doing it organically and not using chemical pesticides. Now my main reason for not using pesticides other than the fact that my dogs run near my vegetable patch as do the tiny birds that enjoy my bird feeders.. i was also keen not to kill or damage the other insects that share my garden and benefit it in many ways.
There is harsh reality to being a gardener which does mean on occasion you will kill an insect, you crush a aphid that is destroying your flowers or kill a wire worm that is eating your potatoes, but if you can prevent this as much as possible then it's approaching being as in tune with the other animals you share the space. I hope that these methods help you deal with your pest issues, i have tried all of them except the nematodes as i can't face what they do to the insects, but all the other methods have worked. I have some lovely tomatoes, cabbages and potatoes that have grown with help from me and the other insects and birds in my garden.
The pest control images are part of an infographic project i ran with greenhouse specialists http://www.gabrielash.com/
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Step 1: Get Rid of Aphids Without Chemical Pesticides
Aphids - My recent battle has been with a huge aphid population that decided to attack my girl friends beautiful sunflowers that she had grown from tiny seeds and adored. Now i checked the whole plant and tiny green and the occasional black aphid were swarming underneath the leaves. I removed a few with my fingers first of all, but i soon became aware that the flowers would be dead soon if we didn't step in.
I used the method of chopping up fresh ginger into tiny pieces and placing these in a glass of water, i then put the glass in a fridge for a whole day so the water was smelling of ginger and was very strong. We then adding this water to more water and put in a spray bottle. For 2 days we sprayed the underside of the leaves on the sun flowers and as a precaution we sprayed all the other plants. In only 3 days there was no sign of any aphids at all.. they hated the ginger and i was happy that the flowers seamed to also love the spray and started to come back to life. they are all huge sunflowers now with giant flowers and are beautiful.
Step 2: Get Rid of Leatherjackets Without Chemical Pesticides
Leatherjackets - I had no idea what these were when i first turned my soil over and found them, big weird looking grubs that looked like pods. I found that my soil was full of them and in the summer they would turn into daddy long legs and would come flying into my house searching for fun lol. I actually like crane flies (daddy long legs) but their babies are a pain and will turn your potatoes to mulch. I found that turning over the soil so that the blue tits that come and at the peanuts in the bird feeder loved the, these big fat juicy grubs were a delight to the birds and they even left the bird feeder alone for a few hours to eat them up. In my dads allotment after he has turned over the soil before planting he packs down all the soil where he is considering planting potatoes with a heavy roller, this does seam to have helped with the amount of tubers getting eaten so this is something i also might try. I'm not keen on the idea of using parasitic nematodes but if you are loosing all your crop and have tried all other methods then it is a possible idea.
Step 3: Get Rid of Whiteflies Without Chemical Pesticides
Whiteflies - I did have problems with these on my tree in the garden last year, this year i have planted peppermints, mint and sweet smelling herbs all over the garden. I still had a few show up but no where near as many and they were not an issue at all. I really think planting herbs is lovely anyway due to the smell but the added benefit is that a lot of pests hate them. Win Win.
Step 4: Get Rid of Red Spider Mites Without Chemical Pesticides
Red spider mites - I'm not a fan, they bite.. and i mean bite. I was sitting in my garden and looked down to see a tiny red mite crawling on my hand, i smiled and was just about the delicately place it down on the grass when i flare of pain ran through my hand and OUCH!, it bit me.. so so tiny i could not believe it. The war was on LOL. These little brutes attacked my little apple tree and i looked for a spray i could use, i decided on a hot pepper spray mixed with water and a tiny drop of soap, it took a few weeks to get rid of them entirely but it worked and i was safe again.
Step 5: Get Rid of Slugs Without Chemical Pesticides
Slugs - I used to have a massive phobia of slugs but that doesn't last long when your a gardener, slugs are part of everyday life. You can never totally rid yourself of them, but you can control them. If i loose a few lettuce to slugs and snails it is not a big hardship, i will normally plant more than i need so that i share them with the slugs and snails. The controls i have used around my food plants are things like seaweed that i collect when i walk the dogs at the nearby beach, if you do not have access to sea weed you can try planting things such as Garlic and Fennel which they both hate. You will find that you can pick up the snails by hand and dispose of them somewhere else, some people put them on compost heaps where they can eat to their contentment.
Step 6: Get Rid of Snails Without Chemical Pesticides
Slugs & snails - My dad had a hedgehog in his allotment and this would eat thousands of snails and slugs over night, but hedgehogs are dwindling in our countryside now. When i was growing up we had toads in the garden and great environments for them so they stayed, toads love slugs and snails and will keep the population down and save your plants. I have not used them but you can use traps to catch and drown snails and slugs, for some reason they love beer and will crawl in and drown in the beer, some guys i know would love to die that way.
Step 7: Get Rid of Cabbage White Caterpillars Without Chemical Pesticides
Cabbage white caterpillars - Any type of caterpillars can be truly devastating to your plants and vegetables, just recently i found around a 1,000 tiny green moth caterpillars all over my Gladioli killing it quickly. I was picking them off and dropping them somewhere else but they would come back and they grow very very fast and shred the leaves as they eat them, you can even see them burrowed into the centre of the leaf. Cabbage white caterpillars will even burrow into the heart of plants like cabbages and completely destroy them in a short space of time. Do not do as i did and plant pretty colourful flowers right next to your vegetables as this attracts the butterflies and thus you get caterpillars. Some thing i have not tried yet, but have been told it is excellent is neem oil, you spray this onto the leaves which does not harm the plant or you when you eat it. Try planting chards in between your crop, the caterpillars hate these plants and it could stop them from attracting your vegetables.
Step 8: Get Rid of Wireworms Without Chemical Pesticides
Wireworms - These little guys are hard to kill, in fact pesticides do not harm them.. so forget about any chemicals. My dad has had to deal with these worms attacking his potatoes, i have spent time sticking wooden spikes through potatoes and burying them in the crop then 2 days later removing them and finding them full of wire worms. It is said that planting clover can stop an infestation of wire worms but it is an on going process. Turn over the soil to expose the worms for birds to eat them.
Step 9: Get Rid of Mealybugs Without Chemical Pesticides
Mealybugs - They are kind of cute when you first see them as they appear really fluffy, but when you see your plants dying and covered in white wax, they become less cute. Lady birds love eating these insects, try attracting them into your garden by planting flowers like nasturtiums, in fact it is a good idea to plant these all around your garden. I have found that after planting all my herbs that i have had less of them on the plants in my garden, it is said that mealybugs hate the smell of chives so this could be the case. You can also spray plants with a cayenne pepper mix, adding chives and garlic and this will prevent the little monsters from settling on your plants as they hate all these things. I have used cider vinegar in sprays in the past also and they seam to hate this also.
Step 10: Get Rid of Blackfly Without Chemical Pesticides
Blackfly - Beans are normally covered in these, you can't see the beans for a mass of moving black bodies. Again with these as they are an aphid, try planting herbs like mints to try and deter them from the garden. The honeydew they secrete will kill your plants quickly if you do not deal with the issue quickly. You can also spray with the ginger spray or try a mix of salt water under the leaves of the plants. Another plan of action is to plant nettles, yes weeds. There is a type of aphid called the nettle aphid and it only eats nettled (bless it) but where ever nettle aphids go things that eat them follow and these predators will also eat your black flies.
Step 11: Get Rid of Carrot Fly Without Chemical Pesticides
Carrot fly - I normally do not get bothered by these flies as i plant lots of herbs, which they hate. If i do get any on my carrots i tend to get these off and cover the young seedlings with netting to prevent the flies laying eggs on them. I also sow my carrots late to try and avoid the season when the flies are laying and mating. This seams to have worked so far.
Step 12: Get Rid of Onion Fly Without Chemical Pesticides
Onion fly - My Garlic plants have on occasion fallen foul of these flies, since i love Garlic and need the plants to deter other pests i get rather angry when things attack them. I have taken to including citronella grass to my planting structure which smells delicious and also seams to annoy the flies i have seen less and less attacks, but they do happen. I remove any infected Garlic plants from the garden to avoid cross contamination and then if it gets worse i will plant Garlic in small polytunnels.
Step 13: Thank You to My Infographic Sponsor Gabriel Ash
I hope that you enjoyed my garden tales and i must say thank you to Gabriel ash who paid for the creation of the infographic that appears in the slides. I really hope that the tips work as well for you as they did for me and that you get to enjoy a wonderful crop of organic food. Learn to love those bugs that live in your garden and work with those you don't love in order that you might all enjoy it.