No matter how much time you spend in your garden, some vegetables will be invaded by garden pests at one time or another. When you are growing vegetables, you’ll need to spend a lot of your time checking your garden for the next attack of hungry critters. Let’s see what steps you can take to for vegetable garden pest control.
5 Ways To Prevent Garden Pests
- build up your garden soil – add compost, fertilize and mulch your garden beds to create a good environment to healthy vegetables
- rotate crops – this will help avoid re-infestation, as well as depletion of specific type of nutrients, as different crops require different nutrients
- pair vegetables with flowers and herbs – this can be helpful in keeping pests away, or in some cases, be “sacrificed” for the sake of your vegetable (pests will feed on the flower rather then you vegetable)
- remove infected plants – if you’ve tried your best to remove pests from your garden and still can’t control them, it’s best to remove (and burn) the infected plants
- clean your garden tools – this will prevent you from spreading pests to other parts of the garden
Vegetable Garden Pest Control
Often, even if you’ve taken measures to prevent garden pests, you’ll still end up with at least some unwanted garden creatures. After all, you are growing food, and if there is something to eat you can’t expect these pests to just pass it by. Your cabbages, lettuces and tomatoes are fair game.
There are so many insects pests that will take an opportune moment to snack upon your hard work! And there seems to be a multitude of ideas to destroy them: some work well, others not so much. This guide to vegetable garden pest control will help with some ideas.
How to control garden slugs
The slug has to be the one of the most damaging pests in the garden, and for many people, a scattering of slug pellets has to be the answer. Of course, the use of this type of poison should be a last resort.
The most common slug pellets are made from the chemical Metaldehyde, and as a slug killer this chemical was stumbled upon. Original Metaldyhyde was used in the production of meta-tablets, a camping solid fuel, and farmers in France noticed that dead slugs were often found where these tablets had been thrown, it has since been developed for just this purpose.
Unfortunately, the most common form of pet poisoning seen by vets is through ingestion of slug pellets.
So, since there are so many other effective ways of dealing with slugs, please make the pellet your last resort.
Natural slug repellents
Let’s look at some non-poisonous vegetable garden pest control ideas for slugs.
Oats are a good bait: slugs will fill up on them and become bloated and dehydrated, making them easy pickings for birds.
My favorite way to get rid of slugs is the beer trap : just sink a cup into the soil, half fill it with beer and empty the trap when full. The only disadvantage with beer traps is that they will fill with rain water and need resetting. To counter this cut a hole in the side of a milk bottle and bury it deep enough for the bottom of the hole to be level with the soil. The top of the bottle acts like a roof.
You could also try placing crushed egg shells or coffee grinds at the base of your plant, the egg shells are sharp, and the slugs do not like the caffeine in the coffee.
As an environmentally friendly biological slug killer try nematodes. This is a parasitic worm that attacks slugs and infects them with a bacteria. You simply make a solution containing many thousands of nematodes and water them into the garden.
How to get rid of aphids in the garden
Aphids are small bugs that suck the sap from plants. They reproduce rapidly and can cause extensive damage to crops.
Hover-flies, ladybirds and spiders will all make light work of clearing any aphid problems you might have. But there are other methods of removing aphids, black-fly and greenfly: a jet of water would blast them off and an organic insecticidal soap would kill most sap sucking and leaf eating vegetable garden pests, including caterpillars and leaf beetles.
You can buy pest control soap solutions, or you can make your own by mixing a natural soap such as Castile soap with water. Use approximately 5 tablespoons of soap per gallon of water. And if you add garlic or chilli it will stop chewing insects from eating your plants too.
Other vegetable garden pest control solutions
For a more exotic vegetable garden pest control solution, create habitats for the predators of pests. Build a water feature in the garden, and you could have frogs and toads doing your slug catching. Add a resident hedgehog, and he will clear your garden of many pests. If you’re lucky enough to live where hedgehogs do, don’t use slug bait.
Broad beans plants are a favorite of blackfly, but as they tend to go for the softer growing tips, the easiest way to get rid of them would be to snap of the tops of the plant and dispose of them.
A teaspoon of cider vinegar will get rid of powdery mildew.
When it comes choosing a vegetable garden pest control, pesticide sprays must be a last resort, because if you start to wipe out the predators of these pests you will still be vulnerable to more attacks that can easily get out of control.
You would be better off selecting companion plants to support your garden pest control, rather than wiping out the very insects that could be helping you.
You can also protect the plants with a floating row cover like Reemay, to prevent damage from most pests, or cover the plants with bird cages if rodents are an issue.
If you would like to know which pest is attacking your vegetable plants take a look at our vegetable pest finder, and get more ideas for battling the critters in your garden, big or small.
Natural Vegetable Garden Pest Control Products
If you’ve tried your best to prevent vegetable pests and sill need help keeping your plants healthy and happy, here are a few organic and more natural pest control products you can try.