The best defense against pests is having a strong, stress-free plant, which begins with healthy fertile soil, and sufficient water and sunshine. Having a healthy ecosystem will allow your plant to build up resistance to a variety of pests and diseases.
While insecticides drive away pests, they also get rid of your beneficial insects by making a hostile ecosystem. The best way to restore balance to your ecosystem is to learn to identify your friends from the pests and hand pick and destroy.
It’s important to remember that having some pests in the garden is not a bad thing! Actually a balance of beneficial insects and pests in your garden is crucial. If you don’t have enough “bad bugs” in your garden, the beneficials will not stick around very long.
On top of eating pests, beneficial insects also pollinate your fruiting vegetables, helping them grow and flourish. Planting flowers and herbs close to your vegetable garden will attract these insects.
- Green lacewing
- Parasitic wasp (Trichogramma)
- Tachinid Fly
- Honey Bee
- Bumble Bee
- Soldier Beetle
- Ground Beetle
Here are some pesky pests that we have had to manage in our vegetable gardens. Remember that even the most ecological or homemade sprays and insect controls will harm or dissuade beneficial insects as well. The absolutely best defence against garden pests is to make sure you have healthy plants and a healthy ecosystem.
Another way to create a healthy ecosystem in your yard is complementing your vegetable garden with a flower and herb garden. Edible flowers, as well as garlic, onions, and most herbs, are essential for repelling some pests and attracting beneficial insects.
In addition to being compact for a small city garden and great at attracting beneficial insects, all of the flowers we plant are edible, so make sure you enjoy them on your salads, or as decoration for desserts and fancy summer drinks. For information on specific flowers check out the flowers section of our catalogue.
Garlic, Onions and Herbs
Garlic, onions and most herbs are essential for repelling some pests and attracting beneficial insects. Perennial herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano and chives provide important habitat for beetles. Let your herbs go to flower for an important food source for bees and other pollinators.
Prevention is the best medicine, but sometimes pest outbreaks can occur despite your efforts. As a last result, here is a recipe for a homemade insecticide spray that will work on pests or fungi.
Organic Hot Pepper Insecticide
- ½ cup hot peppers (or 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper)
- 1 quart water
- 1 tsp liquid dish detergent
- 1 tsp olive oil
Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and add peppers. Cover and steep until cool, then strain and mix in soap and oil. If using cayenne pepper, you don’t need to bring the water to a boil first. Put your finished mixture in a spray bottle and spray affected area.