Natural Pest Control for a Healthy Organic Garden

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This workshop is all about bugs in your garden – pests, predators and pollinators. A healthy organic garden is about how to live with bugs, rather than eliminating them. In this session, Rob explains three lines of defence of an organic garden when it comes to natural pest control, in this order:

  1. maintain healthy soil and healthy plants;
  2. encourage helpful insects and critters;
  3. manage hurtful insects and critters, diseases, invasive plants, weeds and climate.

A gardener will find many very practical ways for building a healthy garden, planting plants to attract pollinators and predators to elevate a garden’s immunity to hurtful bugs. Last but not least, Rob walks through the most common encounters with bugs in a garden (spoiler – Japanese beetles!) and offers many valuable tips to get them under control.

Topics in This Workshop:

Introduction – (0:00): Includes the basics on how to keep your garden healthy and how bugs interact with your garden.

Attract Pollinators – (6:49): This section describes the different types of plants that attract helpful bugs to your garden.

Bees – (10:28): Information on the vast amount of bees and how they contribute to your garden.

Bug Hotels – (12:56): Instructions on how you can go about creating habitats for bugs.

Predatory Insects – (17:30): Identifying the insects in your gardens that will prey on other insects to help control pest problems.

Predatory Attractors – (20:24): Specific plants that will attract predatory insects to your garden.

Managing Harmful Insects – (23:00): Strategies that you can use in your garden to keep your plants safe from harmful insects.

Insect Discouragers – (28:37): A description of plants that keep insects away from your producing plants.

Insect Management Sprays – (29:58): Different types of sprays and solutions to keep harmful insects from damaging plants.

Deterring Slugs and Snails – (41:32): Multiple ways to stop snails and slugs from getting into the garden.

Aphids and Ant Ranches – (44:23): Using sacrificial plants to control aphids and managing ant hills.

Cutworms – (47:45): Information on Cutworms and how to manage them in your garden.

Colorado Potato Beetle – (50:34): Information on the Colorado Potato Beetle and various methods of controlling them.

Flea Beetle – (53:41): Information on the Flea Beetle and ways to protect the leaves on your plants.

Japanese Beetle – (55:19): How to deal with Japanese Beetles, one of the most bothersome insects in a garden.

Cucumber Beetle – (1:00:16): Methods to keep your squash and melons safe from this beetle.

Earwigs – (1:01:41): Details about this helpful composter and plants that attract and control them.

Wasps – (1:04:16): Keep your composter safe from Wasps and advice about handling nests.

Leaf Miner – (1:06:32): How to use sacrificial plants to keep Leaf Miners off your plants.

Onion Maggot and Squash Vine Borer – (1:07:23): Protect the stems of your onion and squash plants from these insects.

Green-Leaf Eating Caterpillars – (1:09:30): Keep caterpillars from eating away at the leaves of your plant.

Workshop Facilitator:
Rob Danforth, experienced urban organic vegetable/herb gardener:

  • Backyard (45 yrs. & on-going)
  • Gloucester Allotment Gardens (14 yrs.)
  • Arrowsmith Community Gardens & Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard garden (7 yrs.)

(seminars, articles, workshops, & consultation booths) for:

  • Just Food Community Garden Network (8 yrs.)
  • Canadian Organic Growers Ottawa Chapter (9 yrs.)
  • Senior Organic Gardeners (3 yrs. + on-going advisor)
  • private bookings (7 yrs.)


Rob’s published gardening articles on Canadian Organic Growers since 2016 can be found on

  • “Colorado Potato Beetle,” Summer 2016
  • “Box Beds,” Winter 2017
  • “In-door Germination,” Spring 2017
  • “Composting,” Fall 2017
  • “Bug Hotels & Restaurants,” Dec. 2017
  • “Weed Wisdom,” March 2018
  • “Mulches — pluses and minuses,” June 2018
  • “Cutworms, the lumberjacks of the in-ground Vegetable Garden,” Dec. 2018
  • “Self-watering Containers,” March 2019
  • “Eco-friendly Watering” June 2019
  • “The Cold Frame, a Gardening Advantage” Sept 2019
  • “Garden Tools” Dec.2019
  • “Planning for no-till gardening,” March 2020.

Read more on Front Yard Edible Gardening from Just Food website HERE.

Copyright © 2022 Just Food Ottawa and Rob Danforth. All rights reserved.
Music used with royalty-free licencing.


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