Pests are becoming immune to traditional poisons, as human use more pesticides, more pests become immune to them. In addition, poisons are dangerous to more than the environment, it is aren’t safe around children and pets.
It is important to balance between chemical usage and organic pest control for your home. Some effective strategic areas to treat and target pests:
Plant Resistant Varieties and native or well adapted plants
Plant vegetable varieties that have been proven to be resistant to disease and pests. An initial following their name usually identifies these. Plants that grow well in Wisconsin do not necessarily grow in Texas. Learn which plants are native to the North Texas area or have proven to be well adapted to our climate.
Clean up your garden
Many insects seek protection in crop debris. Compost your spent plans when they are done producing. Pull up badly infested plants the minute you spot them and compost them too.
Develop a handpicking habit
Patrol daily for pests in your garden. Look for offending pests and when you find them squish them with your fingers. If that too gross for you, carry a bucket of soapy water and drop the little buggers in there. Always inspect the underside of leaves for white, yellow or reddish brown egg masses and smash them too.
Use water as a pesticide
A study at Texas A&M University found that water sprays reduced aphids and spider mites by 70% to 90%
Ring your seedlings. An extremely effective pest control for young seedling is a simple barrier made from cardboard such as toilet paper cylinders or paper towel tubes. Cut the tubes into small sections and place around your seedling to do the trick.
Plant a trap
Just like people, insects have food preferences. Plant a few of their preferred foods away from your preferred food and either sacrifice the plants you planted for the pests or smash those bugs as they eat. Beetles love radishes and Harlequin bugs love mustard. Put out a few squash plants in pots a few weeks before you set out your main crop and destroy all beetles attracted to the potted squash.
Plant a mix plants on one row. For instance, plant a tomato plant, followed by some greens. Pests flourish in a monoculture or a garden with a single type of plant and no weeds. Planting a mixture of plants confuses the pests, and they can’t get a good foot into your garden door. Plant a cover crop. Research has shown that interplanting cabbage with living mulches of while clover, creeping bentgrass, red fescue or Kentucky Blue grass reduced the need to control flea beetles.
Mulch, Mulch, and Mulch
Mulch preserves moisture, eliminates weeds, and keeps the soil surface cooler which benefits earthworms, microorganisms, and plant roots. Better yet, mulches repel and or confuse pests. Researchers have found that the Colorado potato beetle has a much harder time zeroing in on potato plans mulched with straw than on unmulched potato plants.
Bring In the Beneficial
Harmful insects only account for approximately 1% to 2% of the insect population. Allow the good bugs to do the dirty work for you. Encourage the guys in the white hats such as ladybugs, green lacewings, praying mantids, and wasps by planting an inviting habitat. The following plants produce lots of nectar and pollen to attract the good guys: Butterfly Weed, Clovers, Cilantro, Cosmos, Dill, Feverfew, Goldenrod, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Marigold, Mustard, Nasturtiums, Parsley, Queen Anne’s Lace, Rose-Scented Geraniums, Spearmint, Sunflower, Sweet Alyssum, Sweet Fennel, Tansy, Thyme, White Sage and most wildflowers.
Rotate your crops
Changing what you plant in a particular location is very important in fighting disease and pests such as knot root nematodes. Knot root nematodes don’t move more than a few feet in the soil. So if you plant plants on which nematodes do not feed such as rye or oats, you can starve the nematodes out in a year or two.