Pests are part of the natural world. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to prevent them from destroying your heirloom garden. After all, that’s your labor of love. You’d want everything you can do to protect your future crops.
Plenty of farmers and GMO companies rely on chemical-heavy solutions to keep their farms pest-free. However, as responsible heirloom gardeners, we try to find better means to harvest the tastiest and most nutritious produce.
Here are chemical-free ways to keep pests away from your heirloom garden:
1. Keep your garden diverse
Commercial farms growing hybrids and GMO’s choose monoculture over diverse farms. What is it? An invitation for a buffet to many pests that swarm their lands.
To keep Mother Nature in tune with your garden, you want to create a more natural environment to keep the pests out. The key is to keep a diverse farm. Plant different seeds in your garden so you attract beneficial insects instead of unpleasant ones. Grow cover crops or a few herbs and flowers in between your vegetables and fruits. It’s one of the best, chemical-free ways to prevent those pesky insects from killing your crops.
2. Maintain healthy growing conditions
In the animal world, predators thrive in attacking the weaklings. The same principle applies in the plant world. Pests tend not to attack crops that appear much stronger and more resilient to environmental conditions. Sure, heirloom seeds have been selected over the years to be the most solid bunch. However, that doesn’t mean you should just leave these seeds to fend for their own.
From storing the seeds to preparing the soil and taking care of them, it’s critical to maintain exceptional growing conditions. Be picky with the kind of seed you’re about to grow in your region. Be mindful of your soil’s pH level, the fertilizer you use and the amount of water you spray. When you are growing strong vegetables and fruits, it’s less likely for your farm to receive unwanted guests.
3. Practice companion planting
In one of our entries, we’ve mentioned the importance of companion planting for your crops to thrive. Apart from that, it’s a practice that is a natural deterrent against pests. Think of it as a collective shield against all these destructive insects.
Plant fruits and vegetables that go together to invite only the beneficial insects, not pests. For example, heirloom tomatoes grow great alongside onions, chives, basil and geranium but do poorly beside potatoes.
4. Coffee is a farmer’s best friend
Coffee does more than just give you the boost to care for your garden. It also works great in fighting off pests when added to the soil. What it does is it generates more nitrogen to improve the soil’s condition, making them stronger against pests.
So don’t throw out those leftover grounds. Even if you don’t have some, Starbucks has a policy that allows them to give away their remaining grounds for organic compost and other environmental-friendly projects.
5. Create natural pest solutions
From chili and garlic to bleach-free dish soap mixed with water, there are a lot of chemical-free ways you can use to fight off pests. Be sure to spray the leaves’ plants lightly. This way, you’re applying just the right amount.