What is a non-toxic method for dealing with pests on edible crops such as strawberries, melons, blueberries, winter squash and haskaps?
The best pest control strategy for home gardeners utilizes a combination of practices:
– choose cultivars that are resistant or tolerant of pests
– provide the optimun growing conditions in terms of soil condition and fertility, moisture supply and light requirements to ensure a healthy plant that can resist some pest damage.
– hand pick pests such as Japanese beetles on a regular basis and destroy by dropping in soapy water. Shaking plants and hosing them off dislodges some pests.
– trap pests such as slugs by leaving a board in the garden where slugs will hide out during the day and can be lifted and destroyed.
– trap plants such as radishes can be grown to lure pests away from other plants.
– growing garlic, onions and other aromatic plants is thought to deter pests.
– many pests prefer to feed on a specific family of plants so interplanting plants of the same family with onions may help.
– placing circles of abrasive material such as egg shells around plants will deter slugs and other crawling pests.
– cardboard collars around new transplants will help deter cutworm
– understand the life cycle of the common pests in your area such that planting times can be altered to allow plants to grow at times when the pest is less active.