Natural pest control
At home, organic is the way to go, and is one of the main incentives for making a potager-fresh food, no chemical sprays. Keep some natural insecticides on hand, but remember, insects are innocent until proven otherwise; many are beneficial, so use controls selectively and sparingly.
Effective on earwigs, aphids and other small insects, when hit directly. Mix one teaspoon (5 mL) of dishwashing or other liquid soap in a four-cup (1-L) spray bottle. If holes appear in chard leaves, suspect earwigs living at the base of the stalks. Spray with soap, then rinse with water after a minute.
Sold as BTK or “liquid organic insecticide,” the concentrate is mixed into a spray that kills green cabbage worms and other caterpillars. Use what you make, as it doesn't keep.
Made from the pulverized shells of fossilized ocean plants called diatoms, this natural dust pierces insects, causing them to desiccate. Dust onto dry foliage or soil and reapply after a rain. This method, however, can get expensive.
Pyrethrum and rotenone
Heavyweight, plant-derived insecticides that knock out a range of pests. Dust or spray carefully on a calm day to avoid breathing in powder or having it blow away. Will kill fish if dust lands on the water surface. Start with a fresh container in spring and use as a last resort up to one day before harvest.
Garlic, onions and chives
Often recommended as ingredients in homemade sprays, these pungent alliums can be planted liberally throughout a potager for their bug-repelling properties.
You might also enjoy: