Hello and Happy Friday!
Since the beginning of March I have been participating in an Urban Agriculturist Fellowship program at Tricycle Urban Ag in Richmond, VA. While I miss being at FGS everyday, I am excited to share some of my newly acquired knowledge with you all!
May is a busy time on the farm, and i’m sure you’re all in the middle of preparing and planting in your gardens! There’s nothing worse than working hard on your garden only to have your plants be destroyed by pests. Here are a couple of simple solutions for keeping pests at bay, without turning to nasty chemical alternatives like RoundUp.
- Diatomaceous Earth – This powerhouse powder is made of planktonic fossilized algae, and is rich in silica. Make sure you buy a food-grade one, without any additives (available at FGS)! Simply water your plants, then dust the powder on the plant surface, or sprinkle the powder on the ground around the plants to help prevent flies, aphids, and ants from feasting on your plants!
- Neem Oil – While Neem Oil may not smell the best, it definitely gets the job done. Neem acts as a natural pesticide and fungicide. It has even been tested to work to get rid of 200+ different insects! Additionally, it can help control Nematodes, without harming the beneficial earthworm population. You can buy premade mixes to use on your plants, or make your own garden spray! Check out the Neem Oil from NOW Essential Oils at FGS – simply combine that with dish soap and warm water and you’re good to go!
- B.T. Powder – Are your greens being treated like a buffet by caterpillars? Try B.T. Powder! B.T. is short for bacillus thuringiensis, a strain of bacteria, that kills over 20 varieties of caterpillars. It is approved for use in organic gardening, but you may still want to wear gloves and/or a mask when applying it to plants to prevent any inhalation. Just pour powder directly onto plants (be sure to get both sides of the leaf!), or pour some into cheesecloth and dab it onto the affected plants.
- Marigolds – Not only do Marigolds help deter nasty pests like aphids, bean beetles, and squash bugs (just to name a few), they also help to beautify and add a pop of color to your garden.
While we’re on the topic, be sure to check out MegaFood’s Campaign to ban glyphosate (the main ingredient in Round Up). Click here to learn more about this harmful chemical, and to support MegaFood’s Mission.
I hope that you’re inspired to try one of these simple solutions in your own garden! Please let me know if you have any questions, or would like any additional pest management ideas. I’m still learning, but would love to help you have the best garden possible!