Both conventional and organic insecticides are available for vegetable plants. Additionally, gardeners interested in alternative means of dealing with insect problems have an insecticidal option that involves no chemicals whatsoever. Ultimately, gardeners must consider their options and choose the healthiest practical option for their individual vegetable gardens and their specific situations.
Insecticides for vegetables kill insects that harm vegetable plants by means that leave the vegetables safe to eat. Not all insecticides are vegetable safe, so gardeners must check the labels to ensure that they are selecting an appropriate insecticide.
Conventional insecticides have been produced in whole or in part by chemical means in laboratories. Organic insecticides are derived from natural ingredients, and may have undergone anywhere from some to no processing between their natural sources and their packaging on shelves. Additionally, both types of insecticides are most commonly sold in a liquid form, although some granulated insecticides are available as well. Some insecticides are formulated to treat specific pests. Gardeners should identify their particular pests before attempting to purchase insecticides to solve their problems.
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a central point of the philosophy of organic gardening. Gardeners practicing IPM learn about beneficial and pest insects alike. They then encourage beneficial insects by planting things they are known to like, or by otherwise providing a preferred environment for them. Beneficial insects help gardens in two major ways: by killing and eating pest insects, and by pollinating vegetable plant flowers. Ladybugs, praying mantises and spiders are all very helpful in keeping a veggie garden pest-free. Bees pollinate flowering vegetable plants so that they can bear the vegetables for which gardeners grow them.
Whether they are organic or conventional, insecticides kill insects--regardless of whether they are beneficial or pests. Gardeners should keep this in mind when considering strategies for handling insects in their vegetable gardens.
Just because insecticides are labeled "organic" does not mean they are necessarily safe. Rotenone and pyrethrone are both naturally derived insecticides that can be poisonous. Gardeners should read labels thoroughly before making insecticide choices, and also before applying insecticides. This is especially true if children, pets or large numbers of people are regularly around the vegetable plants in question.