Natural pest control products

Protect your square foot garden with natural pest control products

blossoming herbs in square foot garden

Wonder how to protect your square foot garden from pests and weeds without using harmful pesticides and herbicides? And is it even possible?

Without a doubt! Our ancestors have accumulated this knowledge for centuries, observing effects of natural pest control products on worms and flies and learning about the beneficial species who are pests' natural enemies.Too bad this knowledge was abandoned by many because using pesticides has become such an easy choice.

Not anymore in my province. I am proud that Ontario government has banned the use of over 250 pest control products for sale, and more than 80 pesticide ingredients for cosmetic purposes.

But even though pesticides are allowed, it doesn't mean that you have to use them. There are natural alternatives to lawn and garden pesticides, known as natural pest control methods, that lead to healthier soil and environment, and result in having healthy food on your table.

Natural pest control methods for your square foot garden include:

  • Keeping your plants well watered and fertilized. Pests and maladies attack stressed, exhausted plants.
  • Using companion planting. The smell of one plant can be a natural pest repellant for another. Basil and tomatoes are companion plants.
  • Using natural insecticides.

Here is "Natural pest control products 101" from Richters herbs, the leader herb grower in Ontario:

Natural pest control products

  • B.T.K. (Bacillis thuringiensis Kurstaki) can be used to control cabbage worms, leafrollers, tomato hornworms and corn borers. BT is made from naturally-occuring soil bacteria that are toxic to catapillars and maggots.
  • Diatomaceous earth (DE) is used to control soft-bodied pests including ants, aphids, root maggots, caterpillars, cutworms, earwings, fleas, potato beetle larvae and silverfish. DE is a natural product made from the powdered remains of diatoms, microscopic organisms that lived in the oceans million of years ago. Pests cannot develop resistance to DE.
  • Dormant oils are vegetable or mineral-based oils used to kill overwintering pests on fruit trees, fruit bushes and ornamentals.
  • Garlic natural insecticide is a concentrated garlic extract, which can be mixed 1:20 with water and sprayed on plants as a pest repellant to deter insects and rodents. Do not use prior or during pollination since bees will avoid the garlic smell.
  • Hot pepper wax is a liquid extract of hot peppers. The wax creates a waxy layer on foliage that repels many insects, as well as squirrels and rabbits. Do not apply to roots orsaturate the soil.
  • Hydrogene peroxide is used as a disinfectant, applied to the plastic pots and seedling trays.
  • Natural Insecticidal Soap controls aphids, white fly, earwigs, scale and other pests. It is specially formulated to be gentle on plants, even young seedlings in greenhouses. It is accepted and recommended by most organic certifiers.
  • Neem Oil comes from the seeds of the neem tree, native to India. It is not a registered pest control product. Along with it's useful effect as a dormant oil and pest repellant, it also may harm beneficial insects that prey on pests.
  • Pest Predators and Parasites control pests naturally. Each pest has it's own set of enemies in nature. A gardener can boost the beneficial insect population by adding the right species to the environment and/or by creating an ideal environment to attract them using right mix of plants.
  • Pheromone Lures and Traps contain synthetic replicas of the scents female insects send to attract male insects of the same species. By catching the male insects, the fertilization of the females is reducing, resulting in dwindling populations.
  • Pyrethrum is a broad-spectrum organic insecticide derived from the chrysanthemum flower. It is used as a last resort to control, rather than prevent, outbreaks of pests such as cabbage worms, caterpillars, tomato hornworms and tent caterpillars. It does kill beneficial organisms along with pests, so it's use is restricted by organic standards.
  • Rock Dust is used ia a natural repellant for the soft insects, slugs and snails. The dust also supplies minerals to the soil.
  • Rotenone is a broad-spectrum organic natural insecticide made from the roots of the South African tree.It is used as a last resort product to control chewing and sucking insects. Due to its non-selective nature, it is listed and a restricted insect control product by most organic certifiers.
  • Row covers are lightweight fabrics, widely used in horticulture. If applied right after planting or transplanting, the row covers prevent pests from reaching the crops.
  • Shrimp and Crabshell Powders provide protein-rich chitin, a substance found in the shells of shrimps, lobster and crab. When applied to the soil, chitin stimulates growth of beneficial soil microorganisms.
  • Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) is used by gardeners as a fungicidal spray.
  • Sulphur is a trace element generally used against mildrew, rust, black spot, scab and other diseases caused by fungi

Growing healthy food with natural pest control will reduce envinromental damage that pesticides cause to your body and increase mineral and vitamin concentration in your food.


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