Avoid using toxins in the garden. Reduce pests the organic way.

Time: 
Month

First thing every morning, check your plants for bugs, damage or other signs of ill health, including circular spots or rings on leaves, spots on fruit, wilting or discolored foliage and stems, and slimy or decaying roots. Remove damaged leaves or branches. Then try these low-cost solutions to common pest problems:

* Plant different species side by side in your garden, and choose a few different types of the same species. This sort of diversity provides many benefits. It will keep unwanted insects and fungus from destroying all of one sort of plant, and the variety will attract beneficial insects. Some plants also promote the health of others. For instance, growing carrots and leeks will drive away both the carrot fly and the leek moth, while tomatoes will keep asparagus beetles from your asparagus.

* Reduce the chance of late blight destroying your tomatoes by planting a variety of tomato types, either from seeds or from seedlings bought from a local grower or nursery. If late blight occurs in a small nursery, it’s relatively easy to isolate it before it has a chance to spread.

* Wash off aphid infestations with a strong blast of water from the hose.

* Diatomaceous earth has sharp edges that kill insects. Sprinkle it around plants in need of protection.

* Employ pheromone traps to rid your garden of peach twig borers, which can kill perennials, shrubs and trees; and to fight codling moths, which infest apple trees.

* Install wire mesh around tomatoes and other plants to deter critters.