Now that spring has finally arrived, it’s time to begin establishing your warm weather garden, and one of the biggest challenges that gardeners face during the spring and summer months is managing the onslaught of pests that emerge at this time of the year. This week, we take a look at five non-toxic, environmentally sustainable ways to manage garden pests.
Invest in pest repelling plants
Some flowers have developed their own defence mechanisms to repel insects, and planting some of these in your garden can help keep creepy crawlies at bay. Many beautiful flowering plants such as petunias, nasturtiums, marigolds, chrysanthemums and lavender have insect repelling properties, and will add a pop of colour to your garden as an added bonus.
Plant lots of different things
Biodiversity is the key to ensuring your garden ecosystem remains in balance, and it begins with what you plant in the earth. Different plants attract different insects, so it follows that in order to create a bio-diverse garden, you need to plant a variety of different specimens. If you notice a pest insect is attracted to a particular type of plant, try planting it every second year, in order to disturb the breeding cycle of the pest and keep the population numbers low.
Start a herb garden
Herbs like chives, rosemary, oregano, parsley, dill, thyme, lemongrass and mint are not only handy to have growing in your backyard, they’re also incredibly effective at repelling common garden nasties such as mosquitoes, aphids, and a wide variety of vegetable eating insects.
Encourage insect predators to take up residence in your garden
Everything in your garden is part of the food chain, including the insects that eat it, so all you have to do is attract insect eaters to your yard in order to restore the balance. Native birds and predatory insects like praying mantis and lady bugs eat many common garden pests as part of their natural diet, and you can actually purchase many of these beneficial insects to release into your garden. Although you can’t buy and release native birds, installing a bird feeder or planting nectar producing natives is a good way to encourage them the frequent your yard.
Minimise insect habitat
One of the easiest ways to curb the insect population in your garden is by minimising the kinds of places they like to hide and breed. Keep your garden free of things like weeds, dead foliage and leaf debris to remove available breeding areas.
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