Originally published June 17, 2018 on ZLiving
By Beeta Hashempour
If you’ve planted a fruit or vegetable garden, then you’re probably familiar with the hard work and effort that goes into building and maintaining a beautiful, abundant garden. One of the hardest parts of maintaining a garden is keeping pests away, which is why we’re sharing some organic garden ideas you can use to protect your fruits and veggies throughout the year.
Here are some natural ways to help protect your fruits and vegetables sans toxic ingredients:
Install a Fence
This may sound pretty obvious, but many homes have huge yards that often blend into the natural wilderness that surrounds the home. Installing a simple fence around the perimeter of your garden can help keep larger animals like deer away from your fruits and veggies.
Row covers are large sheets that are placed over young plants, typically to protect them from frost. Row covers don’t smother the plants and allow for air to pass through. They’ll help keep away small animals like rabbits, birds, and squirrels as well as some insects. Once the plants have matured, you can remove the row covers and use organic sprays to help protect your garden.
This lightweight mesh can be a savior for berries and tree fruits. The netting can be wrapped around the berry bush or fruit and can help keep hungry animals away from your fruit without any sprays or pesticides.
Make your own insect-killing spray with soap! Use 1 1/2 teaspoons of a mild soap (such as Castille soap) with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Then, either in the early morning or the evening, spray any infected plants with this gentle, non-toxic spray. The soap spray will help get rid of pesky bugs without hurting your fruits or veggies.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is another easy, non-toxic way to keep insects away from your garden. DE works by dehydrating insects and critters rather than poisoning them. Not only that, but its dry abrasive texture will keep insects from wanting to come into your garden. You just have to make sure you re-apply DE to the garden area after rainfall as DE loses its dry quality with rain.
The key to maintaining a successful garden is to try different things and observe how well they work. You may need more than one approach to protect your garden (i.e. use a fence and DE). Depending on where you live and what animals or bugs are in your area, you may need to adjust what type of protection you use for your garden.