Organic raised bed gardens are not without some of the drawbacks that every garden has. One of these drawbacks are various kinds of pests.
In a conventional raised bed garden you fight these pests in a different way than in your raised bed organic garden. In an ordinary or non organic garden strong chemicals are regularly used to fight the pests. These chemicals harm every living thing, including plants, good bugs (yes there are plenty!), your soil and you and your family, as well as accumulating and trickling down into the ground water.
Organic Garden Pest Control 1: Manual removal
This is by far the easiest and cheapest way, but not applicable to all kinds of pests. Go out into your garden in the early morning and in the evening, and pick by hand all the bugs you can see eating away on your precious plants, like for example aphids and lily beetles. Squash them or put them in a container with soapy water.
Step 2: Organic Raised Bed Garden Pest Control with solutions to spray
A simple way to fight bugs is to suffocate them with soapy water. Just mix 1 dl of natural soap with 1 liter of water, then pour into a spray bottle and spray away at your plants. Make sure you cover the whole plant with the mixture, and repeat now and then to get rid of the bugs that subsequently hatch.
Usually kills of both aphids and spider mites, but sometimes the latter ones are a bit difficult.
A mixture of 2-3 garlic cloves, 3-4 large chili peppers and 2 tablespoons of some vegetable oil, blended well in your blender, then strained and added to 1 liter of water plus 1 tablespoon of natural soap (or dishwashing soap) makes a stronger homemade solution for fighting bugs. When spraying this on your plants, avoid spraying during mid day or in really hot weather, because that may harm the leaves on your plants by burning them.
This scares away most animal pests in your garden, even mice and moles if you spray near their holes. There is one major back draw with both of these remedies though: They will get rid of the good insects as well, which leads us to
Organic Raised Bed Garden Pest Control 3: Biological pest control Let the good bugs do the job!
The ladybug is very efficient, it eats plenty of aphids (and is pretty to watch!). Lacewings and praying mantis are also good at this, and can be lured into your garden by plants that attract them. You can also buy these good bugs or other parasites (that is, parasitic on your pests) to establish an ecological balance among your garden bugs. These bugs or parasites can be bought in egg sacks or live, and are very efficient and a really environmentally friendly way to pest control.
Step 4: Organic Garden Pest Control by Growing Scary Plants
That is, the only ones to get scared are the of course the bugs! Onions planted together with your carrots will deter the carrot root fly from eating away at your carrots. Plant lavender along your garden path and smell the fragrance when you pass by… Marigold are lovely when planted amongst your veggies in your vegetable garden, and can of course be a part of any flower bed, there are so many varieties to choose from.
Also, it is very important to keep your plants strong and vigorous by making sure they get enough nutrients and grow in a healthy soil. Then they will be able to better withstand attacks from various pests.
Step 5: Organic Garden Pest Control by Spreading Mineral Dust
Not any old dust will do however, it has to be Diatomaceous earth, which will penetrate the hard exoskeleton of insects like ants, fleas or small beetles. This will cause them to dry out. Spread a thin layer of the mineral on the ground, and repeat after heavy rain or watering.
Extra tip for hollyhocks! Hollyhocks often suffer from fungus attacks causing the leaves to become all reddish brown and then fall off. The plant itself usually survives, but it looks terrible with the naked stem and the flowers at the top. But here is a remedy for this nuisance:
Boil a kettle full of horsetail and water to cover for 10 minutes at the least. Strain, and then dilute the solution 5 to 10 times with water. Use this diluted fluid to spray your hollyhocks, and don’t forget to spray under the leaves.
The best of luck with keeping pests off and your plants healthy and beautiful!