When it comes to lowering our environmental impact, there are few better ways to do so than planting your own organic garden. Seems like a great idea, but an organic garden poses some real problems when it comes to certain pests you don’t want to infest it. While spraying your garden with popular pesticides will kill the pests, it tends to undermine your efforts at an organic summer garden. If we can avoid using those harsh chemicals, we can protect our kids from exposure as well as other animals like birds and butterflies that are desirable in a garden.
How do you do this? Well, we need to get a bit creative if we want the best of both worlds! There are several ways we can maintain the integrity of an organic garden, as long as we’re willing to get the creative juices flowing!
One way this may be accomplished is to introduce animals that prey upon the pests into your garden, which would include specific species of birds and toads.
Lizards, toads (and snakes if you’re brave!) scavenge insects and rodents which will keep them under control in your garden. Toads prey upon slugs and other small insects so they are really crucial at keeping pest population at bay. If larger pests are your problem (like mice), then snakes are the way to go! Sometimes even their presence is enough to scare them off! To attract small reptiles, include rocks around your garden so they can find cool, dark areas near ground and water.
Birds also keep insects to a minimum. Chickadees are the main predators of aphid eggs and larvae which are our most common pests here in Oregon. To attract birds, include bird houses in and around your garden with water for them to drink.
You can also use organic mulch (like newspapers, compost, or coffee grounds) to keep a thriving garden. This won’t do anything for your pests but will create a great environment for your garden to mulch and keep for future growing seasons.
When I first started gardening, I was told that the best way to get rid of weeds and undesirables is to have a healthy garden. Create a space where weeds are unwelcome. Fertilize your soil well, water consistently, and yank out any weed you see.
Organic gardening is more than jut a beautiful sight! It’s a return to the old ways of doing things before pesticides were ever created. And hey, there’s nothing better than providing your family with a home-cooked meal fresh from the backyard!