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Organic Pesticides For Your Garden

Organic gardening is key piece of sustainable living and minimizing our footprint on the environment. Learning about the best organic gardening practices and how to develop your own organic pesticides is an important step in organic gardening. Organic pesticides are derived from natural mineral or botanical sources and are used as an environmentally and healthier alternative to chemical pesticides for organic gardeners.

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What Are Organic Pesticides

Choosing natural pesticides is about striking a delicate balance between protecting your flowers and crops, and also protecting the environment. Organic pesticides are very effective against insects in your garden and flower beds when used properly, and they should be your first choice for most garden pest control needs. Natural pesticides are much safer to use and are much more eco-friendly than conventional synthetic pesticides. Organic pesticides are mostly plant-based and have been proven over time to repel or kill pests effectively. You can even grow many of these plants in your own garden, providing a cost-effective way to protect your garden from insects.

Organic Pesticides - Natural PesticidesThere are many common items that you may have around your home that can be used as organic pesticides as well, but before you start spraying your homemade pesticide, it is important to remember that not all the insects in your garden are pests. Some insects offer benefits to your garden, so before you decide on a natural pesticide, make sure you identify the pest you want to remove and find out what organic pesticides will work best for that particular insect. It is also important to know that not all natural pesticides are safe for every type of plant.

Natural pesticides may be organic, but some can still be very powerful, and in some cases they can be poisonous. Nicotine is a natural pesticide in tobacco leaves but is in fact much more toxic than most modern synthetic pesticides, so you should avoid using it on your plants, especially garden plants. Make sure to always use care when handling any pesticides including organic pesticides. You should always wear gloves, a respirator mask and eye protection may also be a good idea when applying. Do not allow any pesticides to come in contact with your skin and keep all pesticides out of the reach of children and pets. Remember that even natural pesticides can be harmful to humans, so always wash any vegetable or fruit that has come in contact with any pesticide, natural or otherwise.

How Home Made Organic Pesticides Work

Chemical pesticides are not only harmful to the environment, but they also can be harmful to humans because they are absorbed into the food we eat. Washing and rinsing can only reduce the amount of chemicals found on your fruits and vegetables. That is why you should consider using natural alternatives. Organic pesticides not only keep your plants and produce free of chemicals, they also help the environment. Organic pesticides are derived from living organisms and often are made from chemicals that plants use to protect themselves naturally from parasites and pathogens. There are many natural pesticide choices and they all work differently and target particular pests.

Biorational pesticides are the best choice for organic pesticides since they are low toxicity and exhibit a very low impact on the environment. These organic pesticides also have minimal impact on species for which they are not intended to kill. Biorational pesticides include oils, insecticidal soaps, microbials, botanical (plant-based) and insect growth regulators. Biorational pesticides should therefore be your first choice whenever a pesticide is needed, there are a wide variety of choices and they were in many different ways:

Smell: Garlic, hot pepper, onion, cayenne and other strong smelling substances can be used to repel many pests. They can be sprinkled or sprayed on leaves to rid your garden of aphids and other leaf-eating pests. It is best to apply the sprays to leaves during morning or evening hours when the sun is not shining directly upon them. This will avoid scorching the leaves.

Gases & Odor: Many plants give off natural odors or have volatile oils which some bugs find unpleasant. Often these odors or oils are a warning to bugs that the plant contains its own built in insecticide. Concoctions made from these plants will deter pests.

Heat or fumes: Chilies, kerosene, methylated spirits, salt etc, will burn, harm or kill pests.

Oil: Mineral oil, vegetable oils and proprietary oils, such as those made with cottonseed oil can suffocate soft-bodied pests. You can also squirt lemon juice on the ground where you have seen ants to keep them away. Citrus oil sprays can be very helpful in getting rid of mosquitoes and aphids as well. But be careful to not use more than 2 ounces of orange oil in a gallon of water or you may burn your plants. It is also possible to kill beneficial insects, so only use if the insects are getting out of control.

Soap: Natural vegetable based soaps or detergents can be added to sprays in small amounts to make them stick to plants to fight against a variety of small, soft-bodied pests like aphids, spider mites and scale crawlers. Many insects dislike and are harmed by soap, just add a little mild dishwashing liquid or a natural soap to water and spray leaf-eating pests directly to quickly dispose of them. Be careful not to use too much on your produce plants because it can hinder growth.

Other: Salt water works well when fighting cabbage worms or spider mites. But be careful on which plants you intend to spray the salt mixture.

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Manufactured Organic Pesticides

There are also many organic pesticides available at retail stores and garden centers that are made with all natural ingredients and are environmentally safe alternatives to synthetic pesticides. These natural pesticides are available as sprays and powders and target a variety of different garden pests. All of these products are safe for you, your family and the environment, and have been proven effective.

Neem Oil which is extracted from the nut of the neem tree, is used in gardens and landscapes against insects that chew on plants such as black vine weevil. The active insecticidal component of neem oil is a chemical called azadirachtin. Neem oil organic pesticides exhibit very low toxicity and have many uses for control of pests of food crops as well as on landscape and greenhouse ornamental pests. Neem oil insecticides stop insect feeding and interfere with their normal development.

Insecticidal Soaps are made from the fatty-acids of either plant or animal oils, and are used in gardens and landscapes against a variety of small, soft-bodied pests like aphids, spider mites and scale crawlers. Insecticidal soap organic pesticides are a very safe and effective alternative to conventional insecticides.

Rotenone is a natural insecticide that is extracted from the roots of several different plants that grow in the tropics and is an older, broad-spectrum natural pesticide used for a variety of garden and landscape pests. It is available as a powder or liquid.

Spinosad made up of two complex organic compounds, spinosyn A (right) and spinosyn D, and is a newer, broad-spectrum insecticide for use in gardens and landscapes. Spinosad is a broad-spectrum, organic insecticide. Spinsosad is toxic to a wide variety of insects but, surprisingly, spinosad is relatively non-toxic to mammals. Even though it is toxic to most insects, it is relatively safe to use around beneficial and non-target species because it is only toxic if ingested or if a treated surface is contacted while wet.

Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide made from the flowers of certain species of the chrysanthemum plant and is a broad-spectrum insecticide for use in gardens. Pyrethrum insecticide is very effective, safe and environmentally friendly and is effective against a wide array of garden and greenhouse pests and can often be used right up to the day of harvest.

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