Organic rose gardening is gaining momentum all over the world as a better and more environment-friendly option. The chemicals used in fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, etc, can eventually harm your child or pet while they play in the garden and indiscriminate use can even harm your roses.
Taking some basic precautions and preventive steps can reduce the onset of diseases and pest attacks. Always consult with other rose gardeners in your area and your local nursery before you buy your roses. Choose only those disease-resistant varieties that are suited to your climate and soil conditions. While planting, add some organic supplements to the soil.
Garlic, Onion, Mint, Black Pepper, and Cheyenne Pepper are natural repellents. Create a garlic blockade at the base of your rose plants. Sprinkle powdered Cheyenne and Black Pepper around the garden. While planning your garden, intersperse your roses with plants that repel pests (Eg.Alliums, nasturtium) and plants that attract beneficial insects (Eg.Alyssum, Geranium, Rosemary, Thyme). Plant your roses at least two feet apart to prevent diseases. Carefully examine your roses on a regular basis. Remove all dead, damaged, and diseased foliage and burn immediately.
If you face pest attacks in spite of preventive measures, you can use an organic pesticide. You can easily whip up several pesticides at home using natural ingredients.
Chop three to four ounces of garlic and soak in mineral oil (2 tbsp.) for 24 hours. Take a pint of water, dissolve fish emulsion (1 tsp.) in it, and add this to the garlic & mineral oil solution. Stir well, strain, and store in a glass bottle. Do not use metal containers. When ready to use, dilute 1 part garlic concentrate with 20 parts of water and spray. This solution kills aphids.
Nicotine or Tobacco Spray
Mix one cup of tobacco into a bottle of water and leave aside for a day. When the solution begins to look like weak tea, it is ready for use. If the color is dark, you can mix with some more water. This effectively kills caterpillars and aphids.
Stir salt (2 tbsp.) in one gallon of water. Mix well and spray on affected areas. It easily gets rid of spider mites.
But, do remember that although the pesticide is organic it is still toxic and should be used very carefully as per instructions. You could still end up killing beneficial insects or cause leaf burn with overuse.
Crab Meal, Humates, Azomite, Coffee Grounds, Soybean Meal, Fish Emulsion, Greensand, Aragonite, Epsom Salts, Sea Weed, Molasses, and Lime, are some of the natural fertilizers you could use to feed your roses. Organic fertilizers are long lasting as they improve the soil by slowly releasing nutrients while they break down.
Mulching around the base of your plants suppresses weeds and forms a protective cover, shielding your roses from damage in winter and the soil from the sun helping it to remain moist.
The benefits of natural fertilizers and pesticides definitely outweigh use of chemical products. With organic rose gardening, you can be sure of a healthier crop of roses this season.