The best way to ensure you and your family are eating healthy, organic foods is to take control of your food chain yourself! The organic food supply in the U.S. is simply just better than the other alternatives. The organic food industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry that no doubt has its share of cheaters. Besides, if you think that organic farmers don’t use pesticides you are wrong. They do! The difference is they use mostly naturally derived pesticides as opposed to synthetic ones.
I say mostly because tragically, some synthetic products are approved for organic farming. With so much uncertainty about just how organic our organic foods are, the best way is to grow your own! Whether you grow in the ground or in containers, you will eventually be faced with the dilemma of needing a pesticide or face loosing your crop. Luckily there are safe and natural ways to fight back against unwanted garden pests.
Prevention: The best pesticide is to avoid pests to begin with.
- Clear away unwanted weeds and weak plants: These can be breeding grounds for garden pests. They can also attract certain pests that would otherwise not be attracted to your garden.
- Seaweed mulch or spray: Seaweed contains elements such as zinc, iron, calcium, sulfur and magnesium. All help plants grow strong and fight off disease and unwanted pests. It also repels slugs.
- Build healthy organic soil: Natural composting methods and top dressing your soil with natural fertilizers and mulch will create a healthy growing environment for your plants.
- Water in the morning: Most insects and garden pests need damp environments to breed. By watering in the morning, the foliage will be dry for most of the day as opposed to allowing it to be moist all night long.
- Inter-plant and rotate your crops: Most pests are plant specific. By inter-planting, you will discourage the spreading of disease or pests.
Make your own Pesticides:
- Garlic Spray: There is a reason garlic has been used for centuries for all types of antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral purposes, it works! This general all purpose pesticide is made by adding 5 crushed bulbs of garlic to 17 oz. of water and allowing it to sit for 6-8 hours. Then dilute with an additional gallon of water and strain into a spray bottle. Spray the tops and bottoms of leaves and foliage bi-weekly. Discontinue 2-4 weeks before harvesting vegetables or herbs as it can alter their taste.
- Salt Spray: Works especially well for Spider Mites. Simply add 2 tbs of Himalayan salt crystals to one gallon of warm water and spray onto leafs and foliage.
- Citrus Oil and Cayenne pepper: For ants, mix 10 drops of citrus essential oil with 1 tsp of Cayenne pepper and add to 1 cup of water. Spray on ants and ant trails.
- Eucalyptus oil: Add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to anywhere flies, bees or wasps are.
- Essential Oil General Pesticide: Mix 1 tsp vodka, with 10 drops of lemon essential oil, 10 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil and 10 drops of cedar-wood essential oil with 1 oz of water. Add to a spray bottle and its ready to repel any flying or crawling insect.