A natural vegetable garden ecosystem lets Nature take its course by attracting beneficial bugs to eat up the pests that devour the veggies. As no poison is safe, gardeners can deter pests and critters using organic gardening techniques, growing their food in organic raised bed gardens in a complex biological community creating conditions that make pest problems minimal.
Pesticides kill the beneficial insects, like all kinds of bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, and ants that pollinate the flowers for fruit to set. Beneficial insects, like Ladybugs and praying mantises, who eat huge numbers of aphids that could destroy the garden, are killed by pesticides along with the bad bugs, who have evolved into super-bugs after building immunity to the chemicals.
Plants have natural defenses and release chemicals into the air and send messages through their roots and symbiotic mycorrhizal organisms that attracts beneficial insects. Neighboring plants also react and release more chemicals, which are often antioxidants released into the fruit that are beneficial to the human diet.
To have a sustainable organic garden, gardeners need to fill raised beds with rich organic soil mulched with compost, build a wire fence around their garden to keep out critters, and plant organic varieties that do well in local conditions. Companion planting is a technique to attract pollinators and repel pests by planting herbs, alliums, marigolds, and nasturtiums closely intercropped among the veggies. Keeping the soil healthy by continually adding compost and mulch and practicing crop rotation each season goes a long way to keep the plants healthy and bug resistant. Many pest and disease problems are solved by simply planting veggies in pots and containers filled with organic soil.
A row cover is used to deter pests and critters. Gardeners can cover young seedlings with wire baskets, net fruit trees, use cover cloths to keep out cabbage moths, and hang old CD’s to keep birds, insects, and critters away. Gardeners can handpick caterpillars and beetles from their plants early in the morning or in the evening when it is cool. Or they can use a blast of water from the hose to wash away the bugs.
Gardeners can put gritty barriers, like sand or gravel, around their plants to make it difficult for slugs and snails. Food grade diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the plant is a barrier for ants and all types of bugs. Gardeners can encourage birds, who will eat hundreds of pests and plant native shrubs and berries or build an owl house to encourage the best rodent catcher. Gardeners can create a pond to bring in lots of garden helpers, like dragonflies, frogs, and toads. Instead of using harmful chemicals that poison the food, the insects, and the wildlife, gardeners can provide habitats for beneficial insects, birds, and critters, time planting to bypass bugs, use row covers, and create a balanced ecosystem.