Spring Cleaning Carnival: Get Pesticides Out

Pesticides in Use
source: the justified sinner

Today we continue our unique take on spring cleaning with Katie from Kitchen Stewardship’s Spring Cleaning Carnival: Get the Junk Out. This week’s topic is eliminating pesticides.

Head on over to Kitchen Stewardship, where Laura from Heavenly Homemakers is chatting about organic gardening and why she avoids pesticides in her own garden.

Keeping my garden pesticide free is a no-brainer for me. Not only because it’s an opportunity for our family to eat fresh, organic produce without busting our budget, but also because we are invested in our land. We bought this land fully intending to live here for the rest of our lives, and we drink water from our well and spend each spring observing the tadpoles and listening to the chorus of frogs that live in the wetlands on our property. Adding pesticides (or standard fertilizers or weed killers, for that matter) just isn’t an option.

But as easy as it was to make that decision, it still leaves me wondering how well my garden is actually going to produce without the pesticides and chemicals that are so commonly used these days.

Today, I’m making a list (for myself as much as for you, if I’m being honest!) of natural ways to keep pests out of your garden:

1. Include plants that deter pests.

I’ve already got my marigolds started to go around my raised square-foot gardening bed because they’re the plant most often touted as a natural pest deterrent. However, be sure to read through this full list of companion plants to find the ones that will help control the pests that are causing the most trouble in your garden!

2. Attract “good” bugs.

After our praying mantis pod hatched, we released them into my garden area because they’re known as natural predators. Lady bugs are another “good” bug, and fortunately we have bazillions of those already! For more tips on natural pest control, Fine Gardening has an in-depth look at different methods for attracting beneficial bugs to your garden.

3. Make your own organic pesticides.

When my seedlings started getting some odd brown spots on them, Shaina suggested I spray them with a chamomile spray in case the spots were caused by a fungus or bug. But chamomile isn’t the only natural pesticide. Here is a list from The Gardener’s Network of other natural recipes you can make at home.

4. Mechanical pest control

Okay, this one is a little bit different, but I decided over the weekend that I’d really prefer a table-top square-foot garden close to the back door so that I can check on it more easily and spend less time weeding it. Unfortunately, because we are surrounded by fields and woods, we also have to worry about bigger pests such as deer, and we won’t be able to fence in this area like my current garden. Instead, I’ll be ordering one of these Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinklers to help protect my plants, and I have a feeling it will provide tons of laughs for my girls as well.

Laura is also sharing tips for gardening organically and eating organically on a budget at Heavenly Homemakers. While there, you can link up your own story, tips or questions.

Next week, we’re talking about getting the junk out (literally!) as we focus on eliminating clutter. I’ll be sharing some of my story and perspective at Kitchen Stewardship and some practical tips here at Organizing Your Way. Get your posts ready now so that you can link up!

Do you buy organic produce? If you garden, do you use organic methods for controlling pests? What other tips do you have?

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way