It’s that season again…the one that allows us to finally be able to enjoy activities in the great outdoors. And for many people, it means getting out in the garden and starting to plant our flowers, vegetables, or other greenery. An exciting time indeed!
Whether you’re growing a few flowers in a bed or growing enough food for the family and more, gardening is wonderful for our health. It helps reduce stress, lowers our risk of stroke and heart disease, and gives our brains a boost.
But with gardening, comes certain challenges. One of the biggest ones is bugs. It’s something we can’t avoid. How do we keep our plants happy and healthy while also keeping them well defended against these natural predators? And how do we do this without harming our own health, our family’s health, and the environment?
The dangers to humans of using poisonous pesticides are well known. They can cause immediate problems if we come into contact with them, or they can cause chronic health issues like Parkinson’s disease, asthma, depression, ADHD, and cancer. Luckily, there are healthier ways to deal with these pesky pests.
At Nurture My Body, we believe wholeheartedly in using chemical-free methods to ensure our own products are pure and safe. We grow all our own ingredients in an organic permaculture garden in northern California, minding the natural environment surrounding it. Now we’re passing on some tips to help you keep your garden and yourselves safe as well!
Here are some ways to naturally deal with unwanted bugs in your garden:
1. Plant pest-resistant plants
Some types of vegetables and plants are more resistant to pests than other. When you pick out plants for your garden, look for pest-resistant varieties. Some vegetables to consider planting are garlic, onions, leeks and radishes.
2. Plant flowers that attract beneficial bugs
Try keeping the “good” bugs around that eat the bugs you don’t want in and around your garden. “Good” bugs include ladybugs, ground beetles, spiders, and lacewings. You can find specific plants that will attract these beneficial insects here.
3. Plant scented herbs
Keep unwanted bugs away with odors they find offensive by incorporating certain herbs into your garden. Some options are lemon balm, basil, lavender, chives and rosemary.
By planting a variety of plants in a given area instead of using one crop in multiple rows, you can confuse bugs and make it harder for them to find what they’re looking to munch on.
5. Apply physical barriers
Use floating row covers, cloches (mini greenhouse) or another type of cover to keep pests away. This also helps to protect plants from cold snaps. You can add crushed eggshells to the ground to deter slugs from crawling around your garden.
6. Use natural pesticides
There are many products you can buy to naturally take care of bugs, or you can easily make your own using other vegetables, vegetable oils or diatomaceous earth. Check out these recipes for safe homemade pest busters. Always do your research to make sure you won’t harm other plants or the soil.
7. Thin your seedlings
Don’t let your garden get overcrowded with too many plants. By thinning your crops you’ll grow healthier plants that are much better at fending off pests and having other problems.
These are some of the easiest ways to avoid damage due to pests and to keep your plants free of harmful chemicals. Pests are always an issue for any garden, but a little effort will go a long way to protect what you’re growing. You’ll be pleased knowing that when you finally get to reap what you’ve sown, you did something great for your own health and for the environment.