7. If all else fails, try organic sprays
“In every garden, there is probably going to be a time when it’s appropriate to reach for an organic pesticide,” Pleasant says.
But wait, I thought this was a pesticide-free garden? Typically, the term “pesticides” refers to chemical-laden compounds that contain potentially toxic ingredients like naphthalene, deltamethrin and fipronil – just to name a few. Contrarily, the main ingredient in organic pesticides is plant- or soil-based, making such sprays safe for use in your garden.
If you can avoid using any form of pesticide, do it. But if you start to notice pest problems even after you’ve taken the steps above, opt for an organic insecticide that is certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) – which means it is considered safe to use on organic crops.
Pleasant suggests opting for Spinosad-based pesticides, which are derived from fermented soils and safe to use in organic gardens. Not all Spinosad sprays are OMRI certified. So, check for the OMRI label to be sure.
Some gardeners swear by homemade plant-based pesticides, such as mixtures of herbs, garlic and water, but these concoctions have never passed scientific scrutiny, Pleasant says.
More About Our Expert
Born in Mobile, Ala., Barbara Pleasant grew her first tomato plant while living in New Orleans in 1974 and has since tended organic gardens in four states.
Now living in Floyd, Va., the spunky Southern mom also penned four books for the National Home Gardening Club: “Container Gardens,” “Annual Flowers,” “Gardening Essentials” and “Easy Gardens, Less Work.” Learn more about Barbara.