How do you stay ahead of garden pests w/o insecticide?

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just restarted gardening this year after 20+ years since first one. We want as organic as possible from prep to harvest. We had squash borers and couldn't get rid of them soon enough even with otc organic pest spray. We could not sit in the garden and manually remove them...Also ants...Any guidelines to prevent/stop/remove pests that doesn't require lotso $$$$ and labor? I am afraid we may have to quit before we get thru a season. too bad, what we have gotten was delicious...

  4 answers
  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jun 13, 2018
    Try food grade Diatomaceous Earth for the ants, it kills any insect with an exoskeleton. Sweetened Cornbread and muffin mix does kill ants also, but will take longer. I actually in vegetable gardening since the mid eighties, I haven't had many insect problems that really shortened my harvests, but occasionally have a critter problem with my green beans.

  • Betsy Betsy on Jun 13, 2018
    Give this a shot: Mix two tablespoons Dawn to a gallon of water and put in your sprayer. Try to get spray both sides of the leaves, branches and the tree trunks. Let sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse the trees THOROUGHLY!

    As for the ants: Make a mix of 1/2 baking soda and 1/2 powdered sugar. Mix well and put around the spots they are in your garden, or inside your home, it's harmless to people and pets. You can put it in a bottle, like a pill bottle or something like that. Cut a hole on the edge of the cap, and lay the bottle on it's side so the ants can come in and get the mix. They will take it back to the nest and it should kill them. I'd keep it out there all season if you can. The mix makes a gas and the ants can't pass gas, so it kills them. Anything else that eats it will just taste the baking soda and say "Yuck" and walk off. It won't hurt anything that can pass gas, so it's completely safe. It helps to know what type of ant you are trying to get rid of, too. Try this site, scrolling down to see the different types and how to deal with them. https://www.thespruce.com/ant-control-4127879

  • Cindy Cindy on Jun 13, 2018
    For insects in the garden, spritz with good, old-fashioned white vinegar. Repeat every 3 or 4 days. If you see ant hills, pour club soda on them. The carbon dioxide displaces oxygen and that will kill the queen. The above comment is also correct, Jiffy cornbread mix will kill ants. For bigger uninvited guests, like bunnies, squirrels, deer, etc., spread out some shredded Irish Spring bar soap. You can shred the bars on a box grater or even in a food processor. Animals hate the smell and taste of the soap. I have learned these little tips by living next to woods and a river for years. None of these methods will harm your plants. Best of luck to you.

  • DonR DonR on Jun 14, 2018
    thanks, so much, everyone. I just had eye surgery and my wife has been having to do the garden by herself....I appreciate the aid and info esp. for her.