Home vegetable gardeners have been trying to avoid usage of chemical pest controls as this has become a new gardening trend main objective is to garden with no pesticides. It is always better to keep the pesticides at bay from the vegetable garden. Here are some common examples of nonchemical pest controls.
Look for plant varieties that have some degree of disease resistance. New hybrid resistant varieties enter the market each year after extensive evaluation. Roses and tomatoes are susceptible to many diseases.
The newer Knockout shrub roses have a strong resistance to common diseases, including leaf blackspot. These roses require no spraying.
Tomatoes suffer from a wide range of disease problems. Today, many hybrids are much less prone to disease.
There are many types of physical barriers to keep insects, birds, rabbits, raccoons or deer at bay. A floating row cover is a lightweight fabric that lets in light, air, and water, but keeps insects out of a row of melon or cucumber vines that are susceptible to wilt disease. The fabric is kept in place along the edges with old boards or other weights.
The cover prevents cucumber beetles from feeding on the plants. As beetles feed, they transmit wilt disease bacteria to water-conducting vessels. In time the water vessels plug up and cause severe wilting and death of the plant.
When vines begin flowering, the cover has to be removed so bees can pollinate the flowers. It’s important to keep young seedling plants protected from beetles so they get off to a healthy start.
Garden fencing is a common and effective barrier to pests. Use fencing to protect small clusters of tulips or other plants from rabbits and deer. Deer feed on the young foliage and flower buds. A circular wire collar with netting on top gives complete protection from deer or rabbits. The fencing should be as tall as the plant is when flowering.
A small vegetable garden can be protected from deer with a 6-foot tall plastic netting fence around the garden. Deer won’t jump into a small area because of poor depth perception. For a large area, fencing should be at least 8 feet tall.
A single-wire electric garden fence will give complete protection from raccoons in a corn patch. The electric shock is harmless and intermittent so it frightens away the raccoons. The wire gives off enough “bite” to discourage return trips to the sweet corn.
Netting of various types can be used as a protective cover for berry plants. For a large cherry tree, it is easier to cover only a few branches. Birds are clever and will find any small opening to bypass the netting. As raspberries are not attractive to birds and require no protective cover.
Probably the oldest method of insect control. The fingers are readily available to do the job. If the idea of picking up an insect is unpleasant, use a pocket knife to push the insect into a can of soapy water. While time-consuming, it can be effective if done daily.
The larger the insect, the easier to see and handpick. The largest is usually the tomato hornworm, although it is sometimes missed because the green color resembles the tomato leaf color.
Handpicking Japanese beetles from roses is best done during cool temperatures in the early morning or evening. The beetles move slower at that time and are less likely to fly away.
Other common vegetable pests that are good candidates for handpicking include the Colorado potato beetle and cabbage worms on members of the cabbage family. Aphid populations can be dispersed with a forceful spray from a garden hose. Repeat until they are brought under control.