Three Ways to Keep Bugs Out of Your Organic Garden

Nope, organic doesn’t mean “covered in bugs.”

Purple cabbage plant
Shoo away pests without harming your freshly grown produce.Unsplash/Markus Spiske

More and more gardeners are going organic. It’s a great move, but it certainly isn’t as simple as conventional, pesticide-laden methods. But that doesn’t mean that you have to simply surrender your growing veggie garden to pests. There are plenty of effective, organic pest control methods, if you know where to look.

Organic Neem Bliss 100% Pure Cold Pressed Neem Seed Oil 32 oz - OMRI Listed for Organic Use

Plant-Based Solution

It’s even safe for pets.Neem Bliss

Organic gardening doesn’t mean “pesticide-free” or “chemical-free.” It simply means that the choices you make have to have minimal to no negative impact on the health of the environment—particularly the soil. Made from the seeds of an Indian tree, neem oil is ideal for this: it’s nontoxic to beneficial insects like bees, worms, spiders and butterflies, but it kills or deters harmful bugs like mites, gnats, aphids and even mosquitoes. Plus, it’s easily biodegradable.

Dr. Bronner's - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented)

Sudsy Strength

Use as a shampoo, body wash and...insecticide solution?Dr. Bronner's

One of the most common and effective insect defenses is a simple solution of soap and water. Many soaps are insecticidal, breaking down the hard outer shells of insects and deterring them with scents and chemical compounds they don’t like. You’ll want to opt for an environmentally-friendly soap for your organic garden; look for one with some peppermint in it, too, as insects don’t like the scent of that oil.

Monterey Garden Insect Spray, Insecticide & Pesticide with Spinosad Concentrate

Bacterial Assistance

This bacteria is particularly effective against larvae.Monterey

There’s a whole range of beneficial bacteria-based organic pesticides out there. These come in different forms, specifically designed for different pests, so you’ll want to know exactly what you’re dealing with before purchasing one. But once you get the right product, they can be really effective—some can fight caterpillars and hornworms, some are ideal for moths and fire ants and others are even useful for controlling fleas on your pets. They tend to work like a neurotoxin for insects, killing them off within a day or two.