organic gardening

No Chemicals: Organic Garden Pest Control

Organic gardeners avoid using chemical pesticides because they are toxic to humans (especially small ones), pets and the environment as well as to insects. Organic garden pest control uses non-toxic, natural methods of deterring or removing insects.

Insect Repellants

Soap is commonly used for organic garden pest control. You can purchase organic soap insect repellants, or you can make your own by adding a few drops of dish soap to a cup of water. Spraying your insect-infested plants with this organic garden pest control may solve the problem; soap works well on aphids and spider mites. Be sure to completely coat the leaves, stems and flowers of the plant. However, if you use too much soap or the wrong type of soap such as a dish soap with triclosan (such as an antibacterial variety), it may damage the leaves of the plant.

Insect Picking

For larger insects, the most common organic garden pest control is to go out to the garden when the bugs are most active (usually morning or evening) and pick them off of the plants. Wear gloves if you are squeamish, and drop the bugs into a coffee can full of soapy water to permanently remove those particular bugs from Planet Earth.

Companion Planting

Certain plants naturally repel insects. You can plant them among your other plants as a form of organic garden pest control. The most frequently used insect repellant plants are onions, garlic and marigolds.

Beneficial Insects

Some insects eat other insects and don’t eat your plants, and they are a great organic garden pest control. Ladybugs and praying mantis are often used to control garden insects. You can purchase either live insects or egg sacs at most home and garden stores. Simply release them into your garden and they take care of themselves and solve your pest problems.


Physical barriers are another organic garden pest control. You can cut the top and bottom out of coffee cans and push them into the soil around tender young plants to keep cutworms away from them. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around plants keeps slugs away. Fine netting will protect your plants from grasshopper invasions. These are a few examples of physical barriers you can use as organic garden pest control methods.

It takes some creativity to control pests if you’re an organic gardener. You can’t just go out and indiscriminately spray everything with a toxin. You have to choose organic garden pest control methods that are specific to your plants and to the insects you are trying to control.

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Gardening Tip #6

Overwatering kills most houseplants. Looks can be deceptive, so to see if your soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If the soil is damp, don't water it.