Eco-Friendly Gardens: 13 Organic Pest Control Methods

If you have the dedication and patience to cultivate a blooming garden this summer (which not all of us do, believe me), then you definitely want to protect your garden from insects and pests. But you also don’t want to contaminate your naturally-grown vegetables with pesticides or chemicals. Planet Green compiled a helpful list of common garden predators and what you can do to get rid of them – naturally.
1. Aphids are tiny little annoying bugs that suck the juice from leaves and stems of plants – and possibly spreading disease as they do it. Spray your plants down with a hose, and that should do the trick.
2. If you see brown spots on your asparagus stalks, or if the stalks are bent, you’re probably hosting asparagus beetles. Wasps love to eat these beetles, so don’t go on a wasp-killing-spree. And try to handpick the beetles, as well as their larvae and eggs, from the plants. Gross, but necessary.
3. Who would have thought that those tiny white butterflies that bob in and out of your garden were actually depositing cabbage worm eggs on your leafy vegetables? Check your kale, cabbage, and broccoli for light green larvae. Just pluck them off the plants and drop them in a cup of soapy water. Or cover your crops with floating row covers.
4. Colorado potato beetles love to chew foliage on your potato plants. These pests are tougher to get rid of, but crop rotation helps a lot.
5. Despite their name, corn borers can ravage peppers, beans, and potatoes, too. If you see any of these plants falling over, a corn borer has probably eaten through the stem. Bacillus thuringiensis is a great natural insecticide that eliminates corn borers.
6. Cucumber beetles nibble on leaves and fruit of the cucumber, and also spread bacterial wilts. The two best methods of control here are handpicking and floating row covers.
7. If it seems like your tomato seedling has been chopped down by a minuscule lumberjack, cutworms have been playing house in your garden. To ward against them, put a cardboard toilet paper roll around the stem of your tomato plant – the roll will break down in the dirt, or you can compost it.
8. Flea beetles leave very small holes in plant leaves. Handpicking is your best defense against this garden nuisance.
9. The leaves on your beans have been chomped away, leaving only the veins. Who’s to blame? The Mexican beetle. Go with floating row covers for this one, along with handpicking, if you can catch them.
10. Slippery, slimy slugs love to feed on lettuce. Just pull these annoying suckers off your plant and put them in some soapy water.
11. If you see yellow spots and dry brown droppings on the leaves of your squash, you’re witnessing the handiwork of the squash bug. Try picking them off the leaves.
12. Similar to the squash bug, the squash vine borer crawls into the vine of your plant and makes it wither. Cut the vine open right where the problem seems to start, and you’ll find your culprit. Just dig them out, cut off the wilted part of the stem, and bury the end of the vine into the dirt. New roots will form, and your plant will be as good as new.
13. Tomato hornworms will feast on your tomato plant like there’s no tomorrow. Once you spot them, it may be too late to save your plant. But pick them off anyway and drown them in soapy water.