Now that winter is nearly over, our attention is turning to the spring and, hopefully, the return of the sunshine. There are few feelings as refreshing and welcome as the feeling of the warm sun on your face after months of ice cold air and wind. It isn’t just people that love the springtime climate though, it also brings out all of the bugs, insects, and other assorted creepy crawlies. These critters all play vital roles in local ecosystems; without them, our gardens couldn’t flourish.
However, they can also be utter pests! Both to us and to our prize plants. For many people, spraying toxic chemicals everywhere to rid ourselves of these unwelcome invaders seems counterproductive. While artificial insecticides are undeniably effective, they are problematic if we are also cultivating herbs and vegetables. Of course, some people just prefer to stick to natural, more ecologically friendly options as a matter of principle.
Here are some ideas for dealing with common garden pests without damaging your garden or your eco credentials.
Encourage Beneficial Insects
Not all of the bugs who take up residence in your garden are pests. In fact, the majority of them will be beneficial. By encouraging the right bugs into your garden, you can naturally limit the presence of the ones that you want to avoid. This will depend entirely on what you are growing and what the surrounding flora is like. As a general rule, ladybugs aren’t a problem, and neither are spiders; both of these species are effective at discouraging some of their less desirable cousins.
Some insects, such as ticks, are harder to shift in this manner. Spiders make good general predators, and they won’t cause any damage to your plants. However, be aware that spiders generally don’t discriminate and so are likely to hunt whatever insects they can get their mandibles on. The utahpeoplespost.com has a great little guide specifically for dealing with ticks.
Build Physical Barriers
One of the simplest, yet most effective, ways of shielding your plants from unwanted invaders is to simply put up a physical barrier between them and your plants. There is a wealth of different options when it comes to choosing the right materials and structures to keep your garden safe. For the more ecologically conscious consumer, there are all-natural materials available.
Keep Your Garden Well Maintained
The simplest way of keeping potential pests away from your garden is to ensure that you keep it well maintained and tidy. Plants which are underfed and dehydrated are more likely to be targeted by insects, so it is always a good idea to ensure that every inch of your garden is kept hydrated and that you remove any dead plants as promptly as possible.
Keeping your garden free from undesirable pests is simple. They can be, at best, a complete nuisance or, at worst, a threat to the plants that you are trying to grow. Spraying noxious chemicals around is no good if you are trying to cultivate vegetables, herbs, or any kind of edible or seasoning. You can find more information on some eco-friendly strategies to maintaining your garden here.