If you’re growing herbs, veggies, or fruit, or just want a natural way to keep destructive bugs out of your garden, there are some clever tricks you can use that mean you won’t have to use any pesticide. Here are our top tips for organic pest control.
1. Companion plant
There are a number of benefits your garden will get from companion planting. Companion planting is the careful placement of certain plants near each other that will have a positive impact on each other. For example, growing chives beneath apple trees will prevent scab, and French marigolds’ root secretions will kill nematodes in the soil. In addition, planting flowers such as marigolds will attract pollinating insects, which is another plus for your garden. Depending on what you have in your garden, there’s a partner out there for it – just do a quick search.
2. Bring in the good guys
Aphids are one of the most common pests that can wreak havoc on a garden. As you most likely know, not all insects are ‘bad’ and by attracting insects that eat aphids, you can get rid of the problem naturally. Aphids’ natural predators are ladybugs, praying mantis, hover flies and lace wings (those little green bugs with delicate wings). These guys love to eat mint, fennel, dill and sunflowers, as well as dandelions.
3. Be grounded
Espresso grounds are not only a great fertiliser for your garden, they also work as an effective slug repellent. The caffeine absorbs into the slugs’ skin and kills them. Ask your local café if they don’t mind saving the grinds for you at the end of the day – usually they just go in the bin. If you’re looking for a cruelty-free option to get rid of slugs, you can take a walk in your garden at night with a torch and go slug spotting, peeling them off by hand.
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4. Got milk?
The Queensland humidity, too much watering and not planting your plants far enough apart can cause fungus problems within your garden. A great natural fungicide is mixing one part milk to 10 parts water. You will need to spray your plants thoroughly on the stem, top of the leaf and bottom of the leaf and keep an eye on the problem. To prevent fungus problems in the first instance, ensure when you are establishing your garden it has good drainage and airflow.
5. Spray the bugs away
A great all-purpose pesticide for your garden is a garlic and chilli solution that will repel everything from whiteflies, aphids, beetles and mites. Mince three cloves of garlic and one hot chilli and put these in a couple of teaspoons of oil overnight. Strain out the chunks the next morning and add the liquid to 500mL of water. Add some dish detergent and shake well. Spray this solution on your plants that are affected and insects won’t be coming back. The garlic and chilli are not a pleasant taste, and the soap and oil help the solution stick to the plant. The best time to spray is at night to avoid the oil burning the plants in the sunlight.
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