10 Tips for a Naturally Bug-Free Garden


Ants guarding aphids on a pear leaf.

Now that frost has melted your squash plants into a puddle of goo and the last tomato has been picked from your vines, it's a good time to think back over the garden year past. If you're like me, one of the biggest problems you faced was keeping vegetables happy without chemicals when pesky vine borers, hornworms, or aphids came to call. To that end, here are ten tips for keeping your garden bug-free...naturally!

1. Learn the bad bugs. New gardeners may be surprised to discover that most of the insects they find in the garden aren't dining on their daikons. If you're new to bug-identification and would like to learn to identify the bad bugs on sight, I recommend books like Garden Insects of North America, websites like bugguide.net, or a visit to your local extension agent.

A praying mantis on some buggy beans.

2. Learn the good bugs. I'm tempted to say that any bug who isn't obviously bad is a garden ally, but you should work especially hard to protect invertebrates who improve your soil, pollinate your crops, and control problematic insects.

3. Attract beneficials. Once you know which insects are good for your garden, you can start attracting these beneficials by providing year-round nectar sources, watering holes, nesting sites, puddling habitat, and untilled soil. In general, letting the area around your garden go wild can serve nearly all of these purposes at once

A phoebe perches on a pear tree, looking for garden insects.

4. Add other insect-eaters to your garden ecosystem. A variety of larger animals, ranging from shrews and lizards to snakes and birds, team up with predatory insects to keep pest-insect populations in check. As with beneficial insects, you'll need to give beneficial vertebrates the habitat they crave in order to survive year-round in your garden or nearby.

5. Monitor pest-insect populations. Once you decide that the natural ecosystem isn't doing a good enough job of dealing with bad bugs on its own, your first step should be to carefully monitor populations of the insects you want to eradicate. Many bad bugs show up regularly at certain times of the year, so you can mark your calendar and know when the first Japanese beetles, for example, are likely to arrive.

6/17/2016 12:11:10 AM

Thanks for sharing this. People like me who loves gardening would really going to follow above tips which help them to stay away from bugs naturally. Helpful to keep our environment chemical free. http://www.positivepest.net/queens-ny-pest-extermination/

7/30/2015 12:33:22 AM

Before growing a garden we should first know how to deal with bug problems and other insect problems. Most probably bugs are responsible for the damage of plants; therefore we used to go for different pesticides. But as we well known with the fact that pesticides are harmful for foods; it may bring several kind of health problems. Therefore we should follow some organic instruction from here to grow best organic garden. http://www.gsplantfoods.com/liquid-love-all-purpose-plant-food.html

5/28/2015 1:06:57 PM

We have used nematodes before to help control the tick population, and it worked wonderfully! http://bulletstobeans.com

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