Organic Insect Control for the Vegetable Garden
Organic Insect Control products for the vegetable garden and ornamental garden are increasingly popular with not only organic gardeners, but with all gardeners who are concerned with the environment. What we are looking for are products that will break down quickly and naturally without leaving any harmful residues.
With an increasing trend towards organic gardening methods control of insects and pest using natural organic sprays is an essential tool for the gardener and are used widely in the vegetable garden as well as on fruit trees. Home made spays are popular however a range of insecticidal soaps, sprays and other products that are biodegradable and made from organic products.
Types of Organic garden sprays.
Based on a number of naturally occurring insect repellent products, pyrethrum, citronella and garlic are widely used in insect control. All have their benefits and differences and you need to read the label carefully to see what other ingredients are added.
These are based on extracts from the flowers some members of the chrysanthemum family, pyrethrum actually is toxic to insects. Usually sprayed directly onto the infested plants it kills insects on contact. One problem with pyrethrum is that it tends to break down very quickly in sunlight, although some products have added ingredients to try to overcome this. It really is a ‘contact’ spray. Great organic control for Aphids, Thrips etc.
Remember that Pyrethrum is not selective, it will kill both good (ladybirds and bees) and bad (aphids and thrips) insects.
The Neem tree (Azardirachta Indica)is a remarkable tree and its oils and leaves are used widely in India for a range of pest control and therapeutic purposes. Neem oil sprays kill insect lavae and eggs, it is safe in that it has to be eaten by the insects rather than being a contact spray, so many ‘good insects’ such as ladybirds are not affected. Neem products are still underused in Australian gardens, however this is changing rapidly.
These are based on extracts from species of Cymbopogon, and is also used in perfume…. Citronella also comes from other species such as eucalypts. Citronella based garden sprays do not kill insects, they coat the leaves and deter them.
Garlic, Tobacco, Chilli and Rhubarb sprays.
All of these are organic and are designed to deter insects by smell, lots of ‘homemade’ recipes available for these.
Garlic Spray Recipe
4 large garlic cloves (crushed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon insecticidal soap, liquified.
1 litre water
Place the garlic , oil and liquid soap in a container and leave to ‘brew’ for 24 hours. Add 1 litre of water. Mix thoroughly and strain. Spray onto infested plants.
Insecticidal Soap Sprays
These are made from extracts from vegetable oils (potassium) and are again a contact spray, they act by preventing insects from breathing, good for aphids, thrips, mealy bugs, spider mites and whiteflies. (ordinary soap is not an alternative as it contains high levels of sodium that can damage plants)