(NaturalNews) As people are turning away from chemical ingredients in everything from cleaning products to beauty products, they are also turning to chemical-free foods by growing food in their own backyards.
In order to keep your homegrown produce as free from harmful chemicals as possible while keeping crop-destroying pests to a minimum use natural pest control methods. If prevention doesn’t get the job done, try some home remedies first. As a last resort, you can turn to organic pesticide–just make sure all the ingredients are listed and they are all things you are not afraid to put on your food.
Preventing pest problems before they start is the best way get ahead of the problem (http://eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_…). You can do this by following some commonsense guidelines, such as pulling out any weak or already infected plants, building healthy soil to nurture strong plant growth, disinfecting tools after working on infected plants and minimizing breeding grounds for pests by getting rid of non-essential areas of the garden that might serve as a habitat. It is also useful to interplant and rotate crops because it will stop spreading or reinfestation of the many pests that are specific to one type of plant.
Fight nature with nature
Naturally attracting beneficial insects to your garden is one way to fight pests. These insects will prey on plant-damaging pests or their larvae and promote a healthier environment for your crops. Different predator species have different prey, so the type of predator insect you want to promote in your garden will depend on the type of pest problem you are dealing with.
Two commonly used predator insects include ladybugs and lacewings. (http://eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_…). Ladybugs eat whiteflies scale, mites and aphids and are attracted to tansy, members of the daisy family and yarrow (http://eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_…). Lacewings are also attracted yarrow as well as goldenrod, asters and black-eyed susan. They eat aphids and their larvae eat aphids as well as other varieties of insects.
University of Rhode Island Horticulture Program recommends dedicating five to ten percent of your garden space to growing flowers for beneficial insects like lady bugs and lacewings (http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sh…).
URI suggestion for annual flowers to encourage beneficial insects:
Spring: alyssum and buckwheat
Early summer: coriander, dill, yarrow and buckwheat
Mid-summer: coriander, fennel, dill, caraway, black-eyed susan, yarrow and dwarf sunflowers
Late summer: coriander, dill, black-eyed susan and dwarf sunflowers
Fall: alyssum, buckwheat and dwarf sunflowers