Learning how to manage garden pests with an organic or sustainable agricultural approach has many benefits for both the grower and the pest controller. While organic and sustainable practices do involve using some chemicals, they are often necessary only for the prevention or control of certain types of pests. In this article, we’ll look at a few key ideas about how to manage garden pests with an organic or sustainable agricultural approach. These methods are particularly effective for increasing crop production and decreasing pesticide use.
Sustainable Agriculture Practices
Organic and sustainable agriculture practices involve many things including proper weed management, soil management, and pest control. Proper weed management means controlling insects that can destroy your crop (i.e., aphids, grubs, ticks, and snails), preventing the spread of fungus (silkworms, black-flies, beetles, and ants) that destroys your plants (lice, fungus spores, and other organisms). Soil management involves keeping your soil free from nutrient-rich compost and healthy plant life. Pest control involves using natural, non-toxic pesticides, as well as mechanical methods, which include the use of barriers, traps, and exclusion cages.
Organic farming is based on the principle that animals and plants are best when managed in relationship rather than in isolation. Since organic agricultural practices do not utilize chemical pesticides, there is a reduced risk of side effects. There are many beneficial insects, birds, and mammals that will help keep your organic crops free of pests. For example, some birds help by consuming pest carcasses, while others are called “beneficial predators” that eat pests away from your crop. Many insects serve a beneficial purpose for organic farmers.
Types of Pests
Many types of pests only attack and harm a specific crop at a time. Some, such as carpenter ants, are natural predators that will only attack other woody plants. Other pests, like the green-fly, are known as generalist predators that will eat just about anything.
To control pests naturally, you will need to attract them to your garden in the first place. Do this by providing an environment that is attractive to them. Do this by taking advantage of what nature has created, including flowers, open areas, low-lying areas, and shade. All of these natural elements work together to attract pests to your garden and inhibit their growth.
Many gardeners think that planting more of a certain type of plant will attract pests to it. However, this is not true. Instead, plant a variety of native plants and flowers that are well suited to your area and are naturally pest-resistant. Also, plant foods that contain natural, non-toxic ingredients and those that are drought resistant.
Another way to attract the pests you want is through the biological control of insects. Chemical-based pesticides are more effective than natural pesticides but can be harsh on the ecosystem. Biodiesel is an excellent option for controlling both organic and chemical pesticides. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oil and petroleum byproducts that are extracted from livestock and agriculture.
The most important thing you can do to successfully attract the pests you want in your garden is to provide a habitat that is conducive to their survival. By creating an environment where they have to fight to survive, pests are not attracted. This means that by choosing organic agricultural and gardening practices you are in effect attracting pests to your garden by default. However, there are many additional methods available to help you successfully control and eliminate pests from your landscape. If you are having a hard time eliminating some pest populations in your yard, consider consulting with a pest control professional who can assist you with implementing an organic agricultural pest management plan.