Natural Pest Controls and Fertilizers

Don’t diss Mother Nature. That’s what an increasing number of homeowners, gardeners and homesteaders seem to be saying when it’s time to choose pest control products and fertilizers. Millions of homeowners are choosing natural products for use in their yards and gardens, rather than the chemical-based products that were commonplace in previous decades.

The increasing demand for less-toxic, natural and organic products has resulted in a dramatic increase in eco-friendly product choices. (A recent Google search for “natural pest control” yielded 18.1 million results.)

One of the biggest-selling mosquito control products uses a naturally occurring bacterium (called BTI) to kill mosquito larvae before they can grow up to become flying, biting, disease-carrying adults. A popular snail and slug killer uses iron phosphate to kill the plant-eating pests—and the product can be used safely around pets and wildlife. And the list of natural and organic plant foods and fertilizers seems to grow every week.

 

Mother Nature’s mosquito control

Homeowners looking for an effective way to control pesky, disease-spreading mosquitoes don’t have to resort to harmful chemicals. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in pools of standing water, so the first step in controlling mosqui­toes is to eliminate standing water wherever possible.

“In warm weather, mosquitoes can develop from eggs to adults in a little more than a week in just a few ounces of standing water,” said mosquito control expert Jonathan Cohen. “It’s important to empty out birdbaths, pot saucers, kids’ swim­ming pools and unclog rain gutters to reduce the areas where mosqui­tos can lay eggs.”

Where standing water remains or can collect after a heavy rain, there is a natural mosquito killer that attacks only mosquito larvae. It’s a naturally occurring bacterium called B.t.i (short for Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis), which is deadly to mosquito larvae but harmless to other living things.

B.t.i. is the active ingredient in Mosquito Dunks®, the top-selling biological mosquito control in North America. The B.t.i. in Mosquito Dunks® kills mosquito larvae before they can become flying, biting, dis­ease-spreading adults.

Just float biodegradable Mosquito Dunks® in ponds, bird­baths, outdoor tubs, water gardens or wherever water collects and remains for periods of time. Mosquito Dunks® are approved for use in organic production, and they are also approved for use in fish habitats and animal watering troughs. Each Mosquito Dunk® will treat up to 100 square feet of surface water for about 30 days.

Mosquito Dunks® are available at home centers, hardware stores and garden centers. For more information visit www.summitresponsiblesolutions.com.

 

Kill snails and slugs—effectively and organically

Looking for an organic way to control slugs and snails? Monterey Sluggo® snail and slug bait is now OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Listed for use in organic gardening. Sluggo® contains no metaldehyde so it can be used confidently in organic vegetable gardens, and it is safe around family pets and any wildlife visitors to your yard or garden. A one-pound shaker can of Sluggo®, which will treat 2,000 square feet and remain effective for up to four weeks, sells for $19.00. This easy-to-use pellet formulation is now available in a one ounce packet size for use in smaller gardens with fewer plants to protect. This smaller size covers between 4-5 square yards and sells for $1.90 per packet. Sluggo® is available at garden retailers and at www.montereylawngarden.com/products/organic/#sluggo.

 

Natural fertilizer for vegetable gardens

Bradfield Organics® Veggie is a premium natural fertilizer designed for use in vegetable gardens and potted plants. Veggie fertilizer helps support production and produce delicious vegetables full of homegrown flavor. The guaranteed 2-3-6 analysis of Bradfield Organics® Veggie (2% nitrogen, 3% phosphate, 6% potash) provides the perfect natural balance for most vegetables.

For best results, broadcast spread 20 to 30 pounds of Veggie fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of garden area before planting. Then till the fertilizer into the garden area to thoroughly mix it into the soil. When planting, make a furrow or planting hole twice as deep as you normally would, then place a generous amount of Veggie fertilizer in the bottom of the hole or row and mix with soil. Cover lightly with soil and follow the regular planting instructions. Bradfield Organics® Veggie natural fertilizer is available at garden centers, or visit www.bradfieldorganics.com for more information.