Caterpillars, Aphids, Bugs… OH MY!

Here is another post I wrote for San Diego Bargain Mama on organic and natural Bug treatments for your garden!

Are you having trouble keeping bugs out of your garden?? Here are some quick, easy and organically-approved, natural ways of removing (or preventing) pesky insects in your veggie garden!

1. Welcome bug-eating birds!: Plant shrubs around your garden and bunch groups of flowers together to provide shade and shelter for birds to come and hang out.  Hang a bird feeder from a tree branch to attract chickadees(which eat flying insects) or place a feeder close to the ground to attract goldfinches.  Also, place a birdbath somewhere in your landscaping to provide fresh drinking/bathing water. Add more “good” insects to your garden. Ladybugs and certain types of wasps have recently become well known for aiding in the pest maintenance of local gardens. Both of these insects are caterpillar predators and can help control the caterpillar population of a vegetable garden.

2. Strategic garden design: Plant marigolds, nasturtiums, lavender, mug wort, sage and peppermint in and around your garden. Most insects do not like their scent despite what our noses tell us. Practice crop rotation to cut down on caterpillar infestation. For example, if you just had planted radishes in that garden bed, don’t plant them again, switch it up to carrots or lettuce or something else before returning to plant radishes. Also, in the future, consider companion planting. For example: sage planted with members of the cabbage family protects against cabbage moth, flea beetle, and slugs; Thyme protects cabbage against cabbage worm; oregano, yyssop & mint protects against cabbage butterflies:

3. Deterrent spray/powders: You can make your own garlic spray; caterpillars dislike the taste of garlic and will eat less of your precious green leaves if they are coated in this spray. Red pepper spray or Tabasco spray is another option: The natural remedy ‘Garlic & Pepper Spray’ recipe uses 6 cloves of garlic, 1 Tbsp dried hot pepper, 1 minced onion, tsp pure soap (not detergent) mixed with 1 gallon hot water: (the mixture of soap and water can also help treat any kind of fungus on the leaves as well). You can also sprinkle plain white flour over the big leaves when they are wet. Caterpillars and cabbage loopers will essentially suffocate when crawling across the powder.

4. Old wives tales: I have heard pouring sour milk over caterpillar eggs will kill them, I haven’t found anyone who can prove this trick works but have read a few things and heard through the grapevine that it is a successful ‘trick of the trade’ for ridding yourself of pesky caterpillars invasions.

5. Last resort: Bt powder: also known as: Bacillus Thuringiensis. a natural bacteria that kills caterpillars but supposedly, not other insects.: A product like Dipel contains the bt bacterium and it is recommended to use this product as a last “organic” resort…

Get some additional information from these websites:

www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/attracting-beneficial-insects.aspx
www.todayshomeowner.com/using-bt-for-organic-caterpillar-control-in-your-garden

See you next time!

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