There are dozens of reasons I love having an organic garden, but my husband’s favorite reason is the savings on organic produce. Beyond the initial investment of theraised bed, compost and plants there is very minimal costs involved.
Last year I spent, about $300 to get our garden started (raised bed materials, compost soil, plants, seeds, compost bin and gardening tools) and this year I expect my investment to be less than $50 worth of plants, seeds and some extra compost to supplement what I was able to make in my own composting bin.
Maintaining an organic garden means I don’t use any chemicals for weed or pest control in the garden or the yard. At first this was a challenge, but over time I’ve learned some effective tricks. Below are my tips for managing these little annoyances chemical free.
- Plant marigolds around the border of the garden. They deter many insects (including mosquitoes) and slugs. They also discourage nematodes, microscopic worms that live in soil and can damage the root system of plants.
- Corn gluten will add nutrients to your lawn while discouraging the growth of new weeds. You can buy it online or at your local garden center in three forms – unprocessed, granulated and pelletized.
- Boiling water is effective for spot treating weeds. I generally use this method for random weeds that find their way into cracks in the driveway, patio or walkways. If it gets onto healthy plants it can damage or kill them too so I don’t like to use it in my flower beds or garden.
- Plant natural deterrents in your garden like garlic and onions, which can repel insects, rodents and less determined deer.
- If you’re having trouble with snails and slugs try putting out a few shallows cans (like a tuna can) filled with beer to attract and trap them.
- Mulching can help limit weed growth and also makes them easier to pull when they do pop up. Plus it helps maintain soil moisture during hot months.
- If aphids have attacked a specific plant try filling a yellow bowl (yes, yellow…don’t ask me why?) with soapy water and placing it near that plant. It will attract and kill them.
- Chicken wire is effective for keeping birds, rabbits and other hungry animals from snacking in the garden.
These tips should help protect your plants and your investment in organic gardening. What tricks have you found to effectively manage weeds and pests?