Experienced horticulturalist Linda Brennan from EcoBotanica has listed her top 5 tips for organic insect and pest control.
Our gardens and environment are teeming with life. Much of it whizzes by our heads without us even noticing. The tiny lives in our garden are mostly of benefit to our plants and ultimately to us, as they carry out pollination, pest and disease control.
My take home message from this workshop was to take care with what and who you set out to kill.
Here are my top tips for organic pest and disease control:
- Observe what’s going on in your garden. You’ll get to see cycles of pests and disease that are controlled without you even having to lift a finger. When pest numbers are spiraling upwards, the predator numbers are often not far behind, coming in for a free feed.
- Keep your soil healthy and your plants growing strongly. Healthy plants are like healthy people. Good immune systems ward off potential pests and disease. We also know through current research that plants do communicate with each other and insects through scent markers. A sick plant sends off scents that attract insects. An attacked plant also sends of \f scents that can attract predators to help it fight attack.
- Hand collecting and squashing of pests is easy and free. Take a copy of ‘What Pest or Disease is That’, book with you into the garden. It’s by Judy McMaugh and has great pictures. Make sure you are squishing pests not predators.
- Cover up susceptible fruit and plants with barrier methods such as bags and nets. A good selection are available from www.greenharvest.com.au
- As a last resort, spray with an organic spray. Start with the mildest forms of sprays as required. Eco oil and similar horticultural oils of natural origin will repel and smother most sucking insects and is ok for food plants too. For more information check out the ecobotanica website www.ecobotanica.com.au or call Linda 32063676
Linda Brennan from EcoBotanica is an experienced horticulturalist located in the Redlands who recently ran a series of organic and native gardening workshops in partnership with the Redlands IndigiScapes Centre.
Picture credit: Jewel bug #2 by John Slaney