When it comes to organic gardening, it is important to remember that not all insects are pests. Some insects actually help your garden grow and even help control a pest problem.
This is called biological control, which is a nontoxic approach to pest control using other organisms, such as bugs; and it reduces or eliminates the use of chemical pesticides. Conventional pesticide can kill both bad and good bugs, and can create more problems down the line. Plus, organic gardening is all about using less chemicals around the food we eat, increasing biodiversity, and protecting our environment.
First, there are several bugs important for helping your garden grow. Here are some of your garden’s best bug friends:
Earthworms move and till your soil, creating tunnels allowing air and water to easily flow through, which make great conditions for your plant’s roots to easily grow. Worms also digest decaying roots, leaves, and organisms—leaving behind rich, healthy soil.
Bees are integral in the growing process by pollinating your plants, increasing the yield and quality of your fruits and vegetables.
Second, organic gardens allow for a certain amount of pest damage, but when that damage goes beyond a certain threshold of tolerance, it is time to fight back. Here are some of the best champion bugs for your garden:
Ladybugs are great fighters and consumers, eating aphids, mites, and even insect larva.
Praying mantises are highly effective weapons against larger insects like caterpillars and crickets. They also hunt at night, praying on moths.
You can purchase some these good garden bugs online or find them at your local garden store, but your best plan of action is to create an inviting garden, so that these bugs naturally migrate to your plants.
There are several ways to make your garden a good home for bugs. Earthworms love to feed on organic matter, so to attract more worms, work in compost, dry leaves, and other materials into your soil. To attract bees, surround your garden with a variety of flowers that bloom at different times over the year. For other good bugs, it is important to provide a water source, such as a shallow saucer with rocks, and cover your garden with mulch to help moderate temperatures.
By creating a bug-friendly garden, your growing garden will be happy, healthy, and full of little creatures doing hard work on your behalf.