03.Organic pest control
Companion planting, or growing complementary plants near each other, acts as a natural pest control.
- Planting tomatoes and basil together is said to help protect the tomatoes as the basil’s powerful scent repels aphids.
- Grow climbing beans at the base of a sweet corn stalk. The corn's stalk will support the climbing beans while the beans’ roots will transfer nitrogen from the air into the soil where it’s needed by the sweet corn.
- Onions and carrots boost the productivity of the soil beds as the roots of both plants use the nutrients at different soil levels. The pungent smell of onions is said to confuse pests drawn to carrots.
Crop rotation, or rotating what you grow in your garden bed, also helps break the breeding cycles of pests and soil diseases.
Persistent garden pests can be controlled with homemade organic pesticides, such as ground chilli, garlic or coffee mixed with soap water. For snails, beer traps, sawdust or crushed egg shells are helpful but often the best remedy is to simply to pull them off yourself.
Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide that comes from the flower of the pyrethrum plants (related to the chrysanthemum) and is commonly used to kill aphids. Be careful if you’re making your own pyrethrum pesticide: it can cause allergic reactions until it breaks down under sunlight. You can also make your own white oil – for getting rid of scale and aphids – by mixing sunflower oil in diluted dishwashing liquid.