Best Natural Pesticide For Your Outdoor Garden

Growing plants in an outdoor garden has its own challenges, some of which include pest invasion. Your outdoor garden will fail to produce a bountiful harvest if it is invaded by pests.

Control measures must therefore be taken to keep them away. This is where the use of natural pesticides comes in.

Easy available and DIY natural pesticides

There are a few natural pesticides used in outdoor gardens to keep away pests. In this article we will look at the best ones.

Diatomaceous Earth

This pesticide comes in powder form and is applied by sprinkling it on the ground around plants. You can also sprinkle it on foliage to help control snails and slugs as well as other crawling insects. However, it needs to be reapplied after every rainy season due to its dried form.

Oil spray

Oil spray is another excellent natural spray for outdoor plants. Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of mild liquid soap such as dishwashing liquid.

Take 1 quart of water and add into it 1 to 4 tablespoons of this mixture depending on the gravity of the pest invasion.

Mix well then put in a spray bottle and spray your plants. It will effectively smother all pests including aphids, mites, mealybugs and scales.

Neem oil

Neem oil is a potent insecticide that works by disrupting the lifecycle of pests. Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil with 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap. Add 1 quart of water and mix well. Put into a water bottle and spray directly on the leaves of your plants.

Garlic spray

Puree 2 garlic bulbs in a blender with a little water. Allow to sit overnight, add water then strain into a jar. Add half cup of vegetable oil and a few drops of mild liquid soap. Mix well and spray the mixture on affected plants. 

How do you keep your outdoor plants pest free?

Keep your outdoor plants pest free by observing the following measures:

1) Use organic products such as mature compost to nourish your plants

Plants that are sufficiently nourished are strong and do not attract insects. However, even in cases where some tend to attract a few, they are always able to withstand the invasion better than weak plants do. 

2) Go for companion planting

Plant crops together with other crops that work well with them so that they are in pairs.

This is a time-tested technique that is proven to reduce pests and attract beneficial insects such as bees and other pollinators. Companion planting promotes growth and production.

Do your research to find out the best companion plants for the type of crops you want to produce. For instance, pair tomatoes with Basil because Basil is known to repel certain insect pests such as thrips.

Benefits of companion planting/pairing crops

  • Larger plants provide shade to smaller plants that need protection from direct sunlight.
  • Taller plants such as sunflower and corn give natural support to shorter plants such as peas and beans.
  • It leads to improved plant health in the case where one plant absorbs certain substances from the soil, thus changing the biochemistry of the soil in favor of surrounding plants.
  • It contributes to improved soil fertility because leguminous plants such as peas and beans release nitrogen into the soil. On the other hand, plants with long taproots draw nutrients from deep inside the soil bringing it to the top soil to the benefit of shallow-rooted crops.
  • It suppresses weeds because the tall crops create shade for shorter crops, thus minimizing flow of direct sunlight to weeds and to the open areas around the plants. Sprawling plants crops such as potatoes minimize open areas that are susceptible to weed growth.

Deal with aphids using plants as an alternative to natural pesticides

In dealing with aphids, grow plants such as garlic around crops or plants that are susceptible to aphid attack.

The garlic serves as a pungent cover crop repeller of aphids which if not addressed severely crimp plants. Grow garlic between rows of crops such as potatoes and tasty tomatoes among others.

3) Use flowers as companion plants

Use flowers as companion plants for your outdoor garden plants. For instance, nasturtiums grown next or close to cabbage, kale, broccoli and other brassica crops draw away caterpillars from feeding on your crops to feeding on them, thus protecting your vegetables and allowing them to thrive.

4) Attract beneficial insects

Keep pests under control by attracting beneficial insects to your garden. These beneficial insects include ladybug which feed on pests or use pests to feed or house their young.

Provide them with carbohydrate-rich nectar in order to attract them. As they get drawn to the nectar, they discover the presence of pests and feed on them, keeping your outdoor plants free of pests.

Insects such as spiders eat all types of insects using webs to trap prey for future use. Ensure you keep only those spiders that will eat pests without feeding on beneficial insects. You will get this information from a reputable agricultural centre.

5) Choose the right varieties of pest resistant vegetables

Some vegetable varieties are more susceptible to pests than others, therefore choose those vegetable varieties that will save you the trouble of having to deal with pests.

6) Grow pest resistant herbs

Plant herbs that keep pests away such as parsley, dill, mint, lemongrass, basil and fennel. A herb like basil will additionally improve the growth and flavor of lettuce if grown next to it.

Does spraying vinegar on plants keep bugs away?

Spraying vinegar on plants effectively keeps bugs away. It smothers pests. However, there is need to be careful when spraying it around certain plants because it can be harmful to them.

Dilute 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Mix well and put it in a spray bottle. Spray it over and under the leaves of the affected plants. Vinegar is also known to repel ants and other pests sensitive to scents due to it’s pungent smell.