PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL
Choosing plants wisely will give you a step up in some cases, look for plants that have been raised to resist disease – such as verticillium wilt and nematodes in tomatoes. Removing insects by hand is a simple, sometimes very gratifying way of taking care of a pest. One of the keys to knowing how to control these things is learning what they are. For some pests like aphids and caterpillars, a strong spray from a garden hose can knock them loose, it’s important to spray the undersides of the leaves where most insect pests hide out.
- As I mentioned under “compost tea”, compost tea can be used for both pest and disease control and there are many other homemade remedies as well.
- Homemade sprays such as one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid per ½ gallon of water sprayed directly on the pest can kill them.
- Garlic and pepper sprays can also prevent insect pests from munching on plants. These sprays must be applied regularly, especially after a rainfall.
- Ground cayenne or red hot pepper can also be sprinkled on the leaves of plants (apply when leaves are slightly damp) to repel chewing insects or added to the planting hole with bone meal or fertilizer to keep squirrels, chipmunks, dogs and other mammals away from your gardens.
- Powdery mildew and Black Spot are fungal diseases that affect many vegetables as well as roses and other ornamentals. To remedy these problems, mix 3 Tbs. Baking Soda, 2-1/2 Tbs. horticultural oil and one gallon of water. Spray the mix onto infected plants and reapply as often as needed. You can also try to prevent these problems by combining one cup of milk with nine cups of water and spray onto affected plants twice a week.
- Releasing large numbers of Lady Bugs or Praying Mantis (good bugs) to control the aphids, mealy bugs, leaf worms (bad bugs) can also be effective. There are also barriers such as netting and row covers to protect plants from flying insects.
- Companion planting can also be effective by planting a plant known to repel a particular pest near a plant you are trying to protect. Garlic is said to repel aphids, flea beetles, bean beetles, Japanese beetles and spider mites while Marigolds are said to repel squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms and whitefly. There are many more if you look up “Companion Planting” on the web.
Garlic & Pepper Spray
6 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp. dried hot pepper
1 minced onion
1 tsp dishwashing liquid
1 gallon hot water
Blend and let sit for 1 to 2 days. Strain & use as spray.