We can effectively contribute to the health of our gardens by the choices we make (going organic) so that we don’t lose our bees and birds — both of which have so deeply blessed our lives. Several sources are telling us to get that soil healthy so that the plants can be healthy, thereby remaining free of mean things like aphids which totally wreck roses (my favorite) and other treasures. Had meant to post this almost a month ago, but am working with the beat of a different drummer these days.. . please forgive, Jan
Healthy soil, right insects fight pests naturally
The ladybug is a natural at pest control in the garden.
By Dean Fosdick ASSOC PRESS
Gardeners worried about the safety of synthetic pest-control products sometimes turn to botanically derived compounds instead. But many of those also contain toxic ingredients such as nicotine, rotenone and pyrethrins.“Botanically derived pesticides are not always safe, and some are more hazardous than synthetics,” said Linda Chalker-Scott, an extension horticulturist at Washington State University’s Puyallup Research Center. “Any improperly used pesticide will contaminate nearby terrestrial and aquatic systems.”And don’t use home remedies, she said, which could be “illegal and possibly fatal to many good things in your garden.”Instead, consider the benign-neglect school of pest control — a mix of prevention (such as maintaining healthy soil) and natural controls (such as insect-eating insects).
- “I don’t add fertilizers. I don’t use pesticides. I use a wood-chip mulch, which provides habitat for beneficial insects like predacious ground beetles that may eat slugs and slug eggs,” Chalker-Scott said in an email.
Ninety-nine percent of the insects in our yards are benign or even beneficial, writes Jessica Walliser in her new book Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Timber, $24.95). She recommends introducing insects that eat other insects.
“A single ladybug — probably the most illustrious beneficial predatory insect — can consume up to 5,000 aphids during its lifetime,” said Walliser, adding that thousands of other insect species are capable of doing the same.
To keep predatory insects around, however, you have to offer a diverse and pesticide-free garden with plenty of plant-based foods.
“Just like people, most species of beneficial insects need a balance of carbohydrates (found in nectar) and protein (found in their prey) in order to survive,” Walliser said.
Provide plants that produce flowers with shallow, exposed nectaries, she said.
“Many beneficial insects are very small and don’t have specialized mouthparts for accessing nectar from tubular flowers. Members of the carrot family and the aster family are great places to start.”
Where to find beneficial insects? Aside from luring wild singles into your yard with the necessary food, water and shelter, you can simply buy several hundred for release from containers at garden centers or on the Internet.
“Be sure you have everything they need to survive, then look at the types of pests you have in the garden,” Walliser said. “If whiteflies are problematic on your tomatoes, then larval lacewings may be your answer. If aphids are plaguing your lettuce crop, ladybugs may be a better choice.”
Prevention, though, is probably the best way to keep problem insects away, said Christy Wilhelmi, a garden designer from Los Angeles and the author of Gardening for Geeks (Adams, $15.95).
“If you have healthy soils, you won’t have as many pests and you won’t need to use pesticides,” she said. “Avoid (plant) stresses. Have soil with a lot of organic matter in it. Check your garden every day, and you won’t need pest control.”
And here is another link I enjoyed, . . . but don’t forget — you can google anything. .”how do I kill aphids?” (try it. . .) On this one which I spent some time on investigating for my self – well, not ME, but stuff I live with. . Okay? They are talking about something I have written about before — Diatomaceous Earth. It is the magical ingredient one can dab onto an aching tooth or gum which is painful, but you haven’t got time (or money) to see the dentist to fix. I had such a problem and have recommended it to others often. . . the economy being what it is these days. Seriously dab it onto the tooth or into an aching, ugly carrie or puffed up gum with a Q-tip and voila – pain gone. Then of course, take proper care as soon as one can. This is “FOOD GRADE” stuff, so no need to worry. . .won’t hurt you. Go online to “Perma- Guard” and I forget the cost, but its fairly cheap, a 2# bag of it. .maybe $8.00. . I dunno. While I was on their site which is very nice, indeed, I found a spectacular department devoted to using this stuff for getting rid of “BED-BUGS” Did a post on that too. Stated that it was far safer, cheaper and easy to do. While this is in fact, D.E., the product I bought from them as the representative said I was looking for was actually called “FOSSIL SHELL FLOUR”. So that is what it is. But if you go to this following link, they are discussing this product as useful in rubbing into the coat of your dog for flea control and quite a bit more. so here you go:
by Eric Vinje – Spraying garden chemicals to get rid of bugs and weeds not only cause health risks, … Naturally occurring insect diseases caused by protozoa, bacteria, fungi and … This bacterium is found naturally in soils around the world and paralyzes the …. prevention of pest problems, use of alternatives to pesticides, and the right to ..