How to Grow a Pest-Free Organic Garden: Five Organic Growing Techniques for Creating Fresh Garden Fare

Everyone loves the thought of strolling out the garden for a handful of fresh berries or a basket full of salad ingredients for the family dinner table. Naturally, you want to feed your family produce that’s free of pesticides, but you also want your vegetables, fruit, and culinary herbs to be as pest free as possible.

Keep it Clean

Garden pests thrive on messy environments, so keeping your growing area free of vegetative debris such as fallen leaves, twigs, branches, and old stumps helps keep pest populations in check. Remove old fence posts and other items that could provide nesting habitat for insects, keep surrounding grass well-mowed and weed free, maintain optimal garden cleanliness at all times. Never leave half-eaten food or wrappers lying around in the garden because these items can draw pests into the area.

Keep it Healthy

Plants under stress are more likely to fall victim to insect, fungal, and pathogen pests than their thriving counterparts. Keep plants healthy by meeting their basic needs for water, nutrients, and sunlight. Overwatering, for instance, may invite fungal disorders to set up shop in your garden, and soils lacking in nutrients produce weak plants that make ideal targets for opportunistic pets.

Practice Natural Pest Control

All types of natural garden deterrents exist, from packaged predator urine to keep pesky deer from feasting on garden fare to pepper-based insecticidal soap to discourage bugs from devouring leaves and. Simple scarecrows save gardens from marauding birds, and natural plantations work to keep pests in check. For instance, planting colorful marigolds and pungent herbs such as catnip repel a variety of common garden pests.

Build Soils

Maintaining healthy soil and plants depends highly on building strong soils. Certain microbes can be added to the soil that act as nitrogen-fixing agents, and this approach is favored by organic gardeners over chemically based fertilizers. Adding microbes and organic amendments to the soil on a regular basis will result in an optimal growing environment that produces thriving plants.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

A garden is a living entity that will never be completely pest free. The key to reaping organic garden benefits is creating a balanced environment in which the individual ecosystem of the garden supports beneficial insects and other natural garden deterrents.

The main thing to keep in mind is that organic gardens are perpetual works in progress.