Organic Pest Control for the Garden

Organic Pest Control Plant Spray
Image: ArtCookStudio/Shutterstock

You put in all this effort getting your garden to finally sprout. Then you go outside one day and all of your plants are chewed to the ground. Sometimes it’s so extensive that it looks like you never had any flowers in that bed at all. But rather than running out and buying the harshest pest control on the market, there’s a gentler way. Before calling Nature One Pest Control, try using organic pest control yourself.

The EPA has a laundry list of major types of symptoms when exposed to pesticides, including increased risk of cancer, headaches, nausea, and muscular weakness, to name just a few. In fact, the EPA recommends you use non-chemical methods of pest control where possible. So below we’ll cover different ideas for organic pest management in the garden.

These options for organic garden pest control tend to be low for expense and time investment, as well. For instance, you can buy organic deer repellant sprays for around $15 a bottle or some methods require items you may already have around the home.

Organic Methods Using Applied Products

Purchasing your organic pest control products can be as simple as buying a safer, more natural item instead of a chemical-laden one. Some ideas include the following:

  • Many biopesticides use safe, naturally occurring protozoa, bacteria and fungi to keep out unwanted species.
  • Botanical insecticides are made from plants, as the name suggests. For instance, neem oil is a common all-natural insecticide, fungicide and miticide. You can find it in a concentrate for these purposes.
  • Low-toxicity fungicides also count as an organic method.
  • Organic scented sprays can repel pests, like deer repellants.
  • Irish Spring soap has a very strong smell that might repel certain pests. Hang bars of the soap from trees in mesh bags.
  • Many online and local retailers in the organics, natural and eco-friendly industry sell these types of green pest defense.
Organic Pest Control Bug Trap Outdoors
 Image: bblitz/Shutterstock

Physical Organic Pest Control Methods

In some cases, you can easily keep pests away from your garden with physical means. Some ways to engage in this type of organic pest control include the following:

  • Traps and lures like bug traps or live traps can work.
  • Try physical barriers like putting up a wire or electric fence around the garden. Copper tape and flash tape are even sold to capture or scare pests like snails and birds.
  • One common way to keep animals away is to put up statues, like deer decoys, to make the pests think another animal is already in that territory. Move the decoy around to make it look convincing.
  • Find plants that repel the animal you are looking to keep out. For instance, deer tend to not like overly potent plants, so you might plant items like mint, rosemary or sage around the perimeter of the garden.
  • You can buy strobe lights or flashing lights that can scare off pests. Automated water sprinklers sold as animal repellants can have a similar effect.

A main benefit with barriers, decoys and traps is that you don’t have to continually reapply solutions, which could save on the garden budget.

And remember, don’t be afraid to try multiple organic pest control methods. Once a pest munches your garden, it’s hard to regrow, especially late in the season.

The bottom line

While insects chewing up your vegetable or flower gardens can be a frustrating experience, going the organic route instead of going with a chemical-heavy product will be better for both you and your garden in the long term. Chemical-laced pest controls can cause headaches, nausea, and even cancer. Get creative and seek out natural methods and treatments that are safer like biopesticides, low-toxicity fungicides, or botanical insecticides. You can also put up traps, install lights, or put up barriers to keep out pests.

Frequently asked questions


Does organic pest control work?


Yes—organic pest control measures can be just as effective as chemical pest controls. The key is to match the right organic pest control to the right insect.


Is vinegar a good insecticide?


Both vinegar and apple cider vinegar can work as effective insecticides. You’ll just need to mix vinegar, water, and dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle.


What pesticide is best for vegetable gardens?


Neem oil is a non-toxic, albeit smelly, pesticide that is safe to use on your vegetable garden. It is one of the best pest control sprays, free of chemicals, and will take care of your insect problem in no time.