Organically removing pests from your garden this summer

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) -Growing vegetables in one’s own garden is rewarding, but when pests get in the way of success, it can be hard to find a way to get rid of the problem without hurting the garden.

Organic gardening is a popular way to make sure vegetable plants stay healthy without chemicals.

If the garden hasn’t been treated organically, it’s not too late to start.

“With organic gardening, it’s really not any different than other traditional ways of gardening,” Forrest County Extension Office agent Matthew Thornton said. “We want to do all the things, we want to make sure we’ve got good soil, good cultural practices, starting with healthy plants and healthy seeds, and we’re giving those seeds adequate soil and nutrients throughout the year.

However, when pesky bugs get into healthy plants, it can be discouraging. Luckily, there are several organic ways to remove them.

“Depending on the pest, there’s a lot of really good control options for some pests and we just have to kind of learn to manage the other pests the best we can,” Thornton said. “It’s important to remember that you can’t just pick up any spray and use it for any pests. Depending on what’s attacking your garden, there are different solutions.

“Tomato hornworms, or tobacco hornworms, are pretty common pest in tomatoes in the South. They would fall under the category that they are a caterpiller. So, we can treat those with BT, bacillus thuringiensis, and Spinosad.”

The first step to getting rid of pests is identifying them.

“I would encourage you to get out in your garden even though it’s not bearing fruit yet, work in your garden, check it out, be looking for signs for insects or disease,” Thornton said. “The earlier we can identify those and correctly identify what that pest is, the better chance we have of controlling it.”

Other organic ways to remove hornworms from your tomato plants without buying spray from the store include dish soap, cayenne pepper, rosemary oil or garlic.

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