An easy, safe, and effective ways to prevent garden pest outbreaks and prevent them from starting, is to use food grade diatomaceous earth (DE). It’s harmless to humans and safe for animals. The pest list that
DE is effective on is long, while the time to control is short. It’s a jack of all trades and master of all of them.
For those unaware, DE is fossilized algae in powder form. The fossils were tiny creatures once living in water. Most later broke down into silica, so much so that silica now makes up just over a fourth of our
earth’s surface. Ironically, this “powder” is fatal to many garden pests. Even though tiny and soft for humans and pests, DE has sharp edges that cut into the soft insect bodies which fatally dehydrates
Ironically, DE, sprinkled over your yard can be an effective mole control. It doesn’t hurt them but kills the grubs (not earthworms) they eat. On top of that, it gets between clay particles and helps break up their heavy soil. This helps the soil better absorb water and nutrients. It can help deodorize a compost pile while killing gnats and flies.
There are DEs that are not safe, so always purchase food grade DE. To avoid breathing the dust into your lungs, use a dust mask as well as glove when applying DE.
So, how do we use DE? Use only in dry weather. Moisture on DE dulls the sharp edges. Simply take DE and sprinkle around your plants base. Also, you can sprinkle it directly of the foliage. Reapply if rain or heavy dews occur. For aphids, a powder sprayer works best. It doesn’t kill slugs, but on the ground, they will not cross it.
Use only if needed, as it can kill pollinators.