Eggplants are part of the tomato family and tend to be susceptible to same pests as tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. Spider mites, Colorado beetles, flea beetles and eggplant lace bugs can all plague eggplants. According to ATTRA, using diverse methods of organic pest control for eggplants and other crops are preferred for enhance farming systems.
Trap Pests with a Better Menu
Planting crops that pests prefer to eat more than your eggplants is a practice called trap cropping. For instance, flea beetles are very destructive to eggplants. According to ATTRA, studies show that Chinese southern giant mustards are a favorite meal of flea beetles that distracts them from eggplants. Trap crops are not to be eaten. The affected plants must be pulled up and destroyed and should not be put in a compost pile.
Low-growing, leafy vegetables and flowers provide living mulch when they grow and spread over the bare ground. This camouflages the young eggplants as they gain strength and conserves moisture in the ground. Living mulches also bring important nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and calcium to the soil. Radish, turnip, spinach, Swiss chard, beans and zinnias make helpful living cover crops. Sprinkle these seeds around your eggplant transplants. Thin living mulch plants for the salad bowl.
Nature-Based Pesticides and Biological Controls
Pyrethrum is a very effective pesticide processed from chrysanthemum plants. They are relatively safe for organic farming. Remember that broad spectrum pesticides do not discriminate and will kill beneficial insects also. Some can also harm animals and fish. Biological controls include nematodes, which are microscopic worms that eat many harmful insects in the larva stage. Nematodes are usually mixed with water and sprayed over the eggplants as a pest preventative measure.
Hundreds of thousands of fossilized remains of aquatic phytoplankton make up the fine, white powder called diatomaceous earth. The powdery appearance of this substance is misleading because it acts like a razor on the exoskeleton of insects. Sticking between the wings and legs of pests, diatomaceous earth literally cuts bugs up as they move, dehydrating them and causing death. Diatomaceous earth is harmless to humans and animals unless a large amount is inhaled. Buy food-grade diatomaceous earth for use in the garden.
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