Having a healthy and plumpy vegetable garden that thrives from sow to harvest without dealing with pests, is a miracle —one to give as a testimony if you’re a gardener.
Having this bunch of freeloaders ALWAYS around without your consent is a nightmare every gardener faces. However, I can teach you the ways how to keep bugs out of vegetable gardens naturally.
I’m about to show the strategies most growers, including me, use to limit bugs from munching and destroying our precious harvest.
You may be familiar with some, but these old schools work miraculously and NEVER harm beneficial insects like butterflies and bees.
So here are they:
How To Keep Bugs Out Of Vegetable Gardens Naturally
1. Keep The Crops Healthy
It sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out.
Yes, fresh and healthy veggies look like the top priority for these bugs. But they are not.
Instead, they target weak or dying plants. I can’t explain why, but that’s how they are wired —by nature.
Scientist claims it is nature’s way to clean up and recycle.
Although that doesn’t mean healthy crops are immune —I’ll explain more later in the article.
But the point is: if you keep your vegetables healthy by growing them in fertile ground and feeding them the proper amount of water, trace elements, and fertilizer, they are less likely to be overrun by bugs.
2. Sow Timing
You don’t know how crucial timing is when planting your crops, especially if you want to leverage pest control.
While many vegetables will germinate well during the wrong time of the year, it doesn’t mean they will thrive well.
Most of the time, they grow poorly and won’t produce as much. Thus, making them easy prey for pests.
You should also know that certain pests are more active at different times.
For instance, tomatoes can be grown all year round except in mid-summer. However, a vast major of them gets poorly stung by Queensland and Mediterranean fruit flies during the spring.
That is because these bugs are active during that period. So instead, farmers capitalized on cherry tomatoes. And since they are too acidic for bugs, the harvest is ALWAYS promising.
Then in the subtropical winter period, most gardeners tend to grow larger tomatoes because fruit fly is less likely to survive, let alone hunt for food.
3. Try Harvesting Early But Not Too Soon
Sounds antsy, but you have picked them to a safe area before the bugs can get to them.
Most air scavengers (like birds) prefer ripe fruits. So it’s either been eaten by pests or birds; either way, you lose.
Therefore, plucking them early and letting them ripen in a secure place is preferable. You can even eat them green through smoothies, salads, and other recipes.
4. Grow More Groups
If you grow more food than your family can eat, the pests that munch on some of it won’t bother you.
We often employ this logic when planting fruit trees like mulberry and citrus—they produce so much that we are willing to let go of a few to pest.
Last season I just harvested my sweet potato crop, and although a few of the tubers were nibbled by mice, we grew so much that it didn’t matter.
Many gardeners grow more than they need and allow one plant to become infested by pests, attracting these harmful insects away from the other plants.
5. Remove The Bugs Manually
Yeeew, I can’t!
Of course, you can if you’re old school.
I remove pests from the garden while walking around or working in it.
The fun time to do this is when watering your plants. It could be stress relieving.
But removing this pest from your veggies will cut down the widespread of their infestation. And remember, for every bug you remove, you are doing predator bugs or birds a favor.
So together, you and nature can work as a team to fight pests.
6. Take Advantage Of Poultry
Chickens and ducks can be excellent pest controllers in large, unfenced yards or gardens.
Chickens are good at reclaiming beds of soil that have been left fallow and preparing them for growing, but they can also cause a lot of damage to crops.
I wouldn’t let mine roam free in an active vegetable garden (although it works well if you don’t grow food!), but letting the hens roam through orchards picking up bugs is great—they really clean things up!
These hens scratch the ground, uncovering and eating bugs like fruit flies whose larvae mature under the soil before emerging as adults.
So by breaking this cycle of pests, a few chickens are worth considering.
I also learned that ducks enjoy eating stink bugs, especially nymphs.
And since they love citrus bugs, even slugs and snails, it might be possible to use these birds in orchards to control pests. Moreover, ducks don’t dig like chickens.
7. Favorable Habit
Large quantities of one type of crop grown by farmers often attract pests.
Nature tends to correct imbalances by counteracting them to bring numbers back within manageable levels—which is why it seems that pesticides are needed on farms.
The diverse habitat is a strength for organic farmers.
By growing a variety of produce—rather than planting all the same crop on their land—they help to prevent pest problems from becoming destructive.
Therefore, we can grow many plants simultaneously, using natural elements and native flora to encourage good insects and pests-eating animals.
This creates a more natural habitat on your property—one that benefits you!
Aside from that, one of the best ways to naturally repel pests is by planting herbs next to your vegetables.
8. Utilize Organic Spray
Let me explain: habitat manipulation works wonders, and you rarely ever have to use organic sprays.
But if you want a combo, collaborating these two natural insecticides forms a formidable shield.
And organic spray doesn’t harm our produce, livestock, or us.
One frequently used type is mixing cups of cooking oil with a cup of dishwashing liquid. Then use one tablespoon of the mixture per liter of water in the spray bottle.
This solution smothers scale aphids, leaf miners, and mites.
A quick fix is to put a ring of Vaseline (Vaso) around the base of a plant attacked by aphids or scale.
This keeps ants from climbing up and protecting these pests from their natural predators.
So here is the myth:
Aphids and scale feed on the sap of certain trees, secreting a sweet honeydew. Ants protect these pests in exchange for this nectar-like substance, which they eat. If you kill off ants, the aphid colonies will find survival hard.
You can also use pesto oils, garlic, or chile concentrate spray. Pie Ethereum also works fine.
However, if you apply pyrethrum, bear in mind it will terminate good bugs (like bees) that are helpful.
Hence, you would use it sparingly when plants are not baring flowers or pollinating insects aren’t around.
9. Hire Bio Bugs To Fight Your Battles
Bio bugs—also known as beneficial organisms and microorganisms—are an emerging tool for gardening.
They are a form of biological control and natural enemies of the pests you’re trying to get rid of. They can be used in many ways, including releasing them directly onto your crops or the area where you have a pest problem.
Although it can seem a little expensive to buy, it can give your habitat the boost it needs to get rid of bad ones and restore nature’s balance—without using horrible chemicals that harm indiscriminate species.
We can keep pests away from our produce by netting or bagging them.
This method is one of the surefire ways to keep bugs, birds, and small animals at bay from your stone fruits and apples. However, it is looks untidy.
Aside from that, it is expensive and time-consuming to bag each crop.
So that is it! Hope you did you enjoyed this article.
But one last thing before you leave:
To kick your garden pest control up a notch, combine several methods above to enhance your ovbeetlerall pest control strategy.
For instance, try companion planting and raising predator insects to double the chances of controlling your bug problems.