Organic Pest Control – A Better Way

Organic pest control is more than just spraying organic herbicides on your weeds and organic garden pesticide/herbicide concoctions on your plants.

Organic garden pest control is about creating conditions in your garden so weeds and pests don’t cause a problem in the first place.

This strategy is more scientific, thorough and successful than the homemade organic pest control products you will find online and in books.

It’s an important topic, which is why one of the 3 main focuses of this site is “how to control insects, diseases and weeds forever without any chemicals.”

And yet, I don’t spend all that much time talking specifically about organic garden pest control because it gets taken care of when you learn how to properly care for your soil, fertilize, water, etc. – when you learn to create a healthy ecosystem in your organic garden.

But I occasionally write about it specifically, and here are my articles on organic gardening pest control…

Insect-Eating Birds In The Garden

Larry Hansford is an avid reader of this blog and he recently asked me if I’ve written anything about attracting insect-eating birds into the garden.

I said not much, would you like to write a little something?

And so he wrote about his garden and he filmed the video below.

If you’re reading this and have your own experiences with insect-eating birds, please share in the discussion area down below. Thanks!

Read More

How To Get Rid Of Slugs And Snails In The Garden

Getting Rid Of SlugsNot all snails and slugs are pests, so if they’re not eating your plants, you don’t need to get rid of them in your organic garden.

Slugs and snails are closely related.

The main difference is that snails have a shell, while slugs don’t.

Most molluscs live in the water, but slugs and snails are the two that can live on land as well.

In fact, there’s your most important clue right there for how to get rid of slugs and snails in the garden – they like it wet.
Read More

How To Get Rid Of Moles And Voles (And Gophers)

A MoleClose-up of mole by Michael David Hill is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

So, you want to know how to get rid of moles and voles (and gophers)?

First of all, moles are great!

They plow the soil and eat insects such as grubs.

Of course, they do leave behind some tunnels.

And while they don’t eat your plants, they can disturb them.

We may not mind a few tunnels, but when it gets to be too many, it can leave an unsightly mess of molehills, uneven soil and brown ridges in the lawn. Read More

How NOT To Control Pests In An Organic Garden

About 1 out of 2.5 people in North America will get cancer at some point in their lives.

I notice an interesting parallel between how we treat cancer and how we treat pests in our gardens.

The main ways our medical system tries to get rid of cancer are to cut it out (surgery), burn it out (radiation) and poison it out (chemotherapy).

I’m not here to discuss the merit of these practices, but I think most of my readers would agree that there are at least some additional strategies that would be nice to consider if we’re interested in taking more of a holistic approach.

Certainly the cut/burn/poison methods don’t do anything to address the root cause of disease, nor do they leave our bodies in a healthier state, so it’s pretty clear that also incorporating some methods of improving our health could play a tremendous role in treating many types of disease. Read More

Organic Weed Control – Kill Weeds Naturally And Forever

For many of us, organic weed control means many hours crouched in the garden pulling weeds.

And after a while, it’s easy for an organic gardener to begin to think of the buttercups or bindweed as the enemy.

So I’ll give some tips on how to kill weeds naturally in this article.

But at the same time, many of us may have an inkling that weeds aren’t simply the enemy, that it’s more complicated than that.

After all, many weeds are edible or have medicinal properties. Read More

Organic Garden Pest Control – Without Toxins

Update: I now recommend neem oil instead of horticultural oil.

As I’ve discussed in other posts, the best organic garden pest control method is a healthy ecosystem.

This means creating the right conditions for thriving, healthy plants by doing things like caring for the soil, watering properly, and having the right plant in the right place.

Then our plants won’t attract diseases or plant-feeding insects. Read More

Benefits of Weeds – 6 Reasons To Keep Some Around

Click for video transcription

Phil: Hey Guys! It’s Phil from smilinggardener.com and today we are talking about the benefits of weeds and if you haven’t picked up the 15 Vital Lessons For Becoming A Better Organic Gardener, you can do that right on the homepage of smilinggardener.com.

So, do you remember when I had a particularly weedy lawn of a client of mine and I had to get you to come and help me hand weed the lawn?

H: I do. I think I did it for free. No way. You still owe me.

Phil: I just remember that that – like there were – that was a small front lawn but there were more weeds there than grass, right?

H: Yes. Same at the backyard because I ended taking all of that job for you and the – it was just crazy. You could hardly even see the grass.

Phil: So it’s the kind of thing where we knew that we could eventually, over the course of a number of years, improve the soil and help the plant to the point where the grass would win over the weeds but it was just in a short term because the client didn’t like the weeds. We had to hand-pull them, right?

H: Yeah. Exactly. I guess that’s the problem with trying to find the short term solution, right?

Phil: So. Today – I mean today we are just talking about the benefits of weeds which – I don’t know if we ever got that across to hearing that but they are really – there was a reason the weeds were there which is because they were more suited for that soil than the grass.

So usually it means the soil is not in great shape. It’s – it could be any number of nutritional imbalances or water issues or compaction issues. But today we are talking about what the weeds do for the lawn or the garden, right?

H: Yes. We are. We love talking about weeds.

Phil: So why don’t you tell people something that the weeds that’s good?

H: Okay. Well. Weeds bring mineral.

Phil: Don’t lose it.

H: Weeds bring minerals and water up from deep in the soil and they make them available to microbes and neighboring plants.

Phil: Well, how you stress like every third word there.

H: Hey! There is a point to be made.

Phil: Yes. Weeds bring nutrients. I am certain weeds bring up nutrients from really deep in the soil because they have long tap roots. They are also – just a lot of them have extensive root systems. They break up hardpans and break up compaction. They are always dying back and growing, both above and below ground.

So they are adding organic matter to the soil. They are fixing– like the really cool thing is weeds will come in and if you have a calcium deficiency, there is going to weeds to come in and fix that calcium deficiency. Now it may take decades or centuries but sometimes it will be really quick but that’s what they do.

So actually we have a longer list on the Blog of what weeds do that’s good for you. But I guess we just want to tell people to embrace their weeds. We get into it – I mean I get into a lot more in the academy and then probably in 2013, we will actually talk a little bit more about what you can do to improve soil condition like on the Blog, mostly we cannot talk a lot more detail in the academy.

So the question I want to ask today is what weeds are causing you guys problems. Yeah. I just want to hear like what kinds of weeds you have in abundance. So let me know in the comments down below. Is there anything else?

H: I cannot think of anything else particularly or just so about weeds.

Phil: Okay. That’s good for today then.

Yes, weeds can be a bummer, but many gardeners don’t know there are a lot more benefits of weeds than downsides.

Besides, they’re easily controlled in the garden with mulch.

The lawn is definitely trickier. I had one client who’s front lawn had more weeds than grass.

Read More