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Keep Your Organic Garden Chemical & Bug Free

By Lauren Rae, Wellness Coach and CPT

You don’t want your hard work in the garden to go to waste by allowing the bugs to eat it all up. Give these healthy tips a try!

Spring has sprung and summer is rapidly approaching, if not already arrived for some of you! Many of us are enjoying the fresh air with a little gardening in hopes of barrels of fresh organic produce. I know for me, as soon as I had enough above-ground green to be proud of, the bugs started enjoying each and every leaf. So what do you do when you’ve worked so hard to prepare an organic garden from bottom to top and the pests are eating before you get a chance to? I want to be able to keep up my chemical-free, bug-free home, so here are a few safe ideas for battling the bugs:

Make a Homemade Organic Pesticide

garden_plants_grow_vegetables_food_picThere are several homemade recipes you can try made of items you probably have around the house. Here are my three favorite:

For all recipes, be sure to use a clean spray bottle and soft or bottled water. Test on one leaf to make sure it doesn’t harm your plant before using any solution on your entire garden. Make sure to coat the leaves evenly on top and bottom making sure to come into contact with any insects that are hanging around uninvited.

Insecticidal Soap - For all pests

Mix 1 tablespoon of all natural soap (like Trader Joes brand) per quart of water. Mix together well and use immediately.

Oil Spray - Best for aphids, thrips, spider mites, and whiteflies

Combine 1 tablespoon of all natural dish soap with 1 cup of cooking oil (from a newly opened bottle) extremely well and store this concentrated mix in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it. When you’re ready, mix 4 teaspoons with 1 pint of water.

Garlic and Pepper Spray - For leafhoppers, spittlebugs, beetles, and loopers

Combine 10 cloves of garlic with 1–2 teaspoons red pepper powder, 2–3 drops of all natural dish soap, and ½ cup oil in a blender with 1 quart water. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours before straining out the pulp and pouring the liquid mixture into your spray bottle.

Try a Store Bought Organic Pesticide

Your local nursery might have a pre-made organic spray like Espoma Earth-Tone Insecticidal Soap. It might cost you between ten to fifteen dollars, but would be well spent to save all that produce! Be sure to read the ingredient list before using as some are stronger than others. If you wouldn’t spray it on the food you’re eating, try finding something you would. Use as directed.

Let Go of Any Attachment and Start Over

garden_grow_plant_green_dig_dirt_picIf all else fails and you’re left with swiss-cheese remnants of a garden, think about starting over. I know it’s easy to get attached to all the hard work and care you planted with your seeds, but remember, for most of us, gardening is one big experiment. Head out (or jump online) and find some new organic pre-sprouted plants and begin again. Gardening is a good opportunity to practice some of the finest qualities like patience, hard work, consistency, and letting go. Remove attachment to the outcome and enjoy the process!

Get your kids involved too!

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