While bugs are an inevitable presence in your garden, you don't need harmful chemicals to ward off these little visitors. |
Many tried and true organic solutions can zap away pests without the toxic residues of chemical pesticides, which can leak into the ground and contaminate the groundwater that eventually flows from our taps. Try these organic methods to keep common garden pests out of your garden safely and naturally.
Many people, however, want to forgo using harsh chemicals in their yards and gardens to avoid unnecessary chemical exposure. This guide highlights a variety of ways you can keep your landscaping lush and your gardens unmolested by pests without having to spread toxic paste on anything or use a sprayer that requires an OSHA-approved canister mask to use safely. These tips will keep your plants pest-free without harsh chemicals.
Even if you're not particularly worried about exposing yourself to harsh yard chemicals and you have no pets or small children, you've still got at least one great reason for trying natural deterrents first: Poisoning the lower end of the food chain like the slugs and the insects in your yard will keep them away, but it will also deter natural predators like other insects and birds from visiting your yard. Basically you'll end up ensuring a cycle wherein you have to keep applying chemicals to deal with the problem because you've driven away the element of nature that was actually helping you.
Repel Insects with Organic Sprays: There are an abundance of organic recipes online for insect-repelling plant sprays. The majority of them have common ingredients like garlic cloves, hot pepper, and sometimes the essential oil extract of either or both. Mixtures of the two work great for repelling everything from bugs to bunnies.
All-Natural Recipes for Sprays and Soaps Sometimes a gardener needs to take it up a notch with pest control, but resist the temptation to buy chemical pesticides from the nursery or home improvement store. Try the following recipes as go-to formulas for knocking out all kinds of unwanted visitors.
All-Natural Insecticide Soap The soap in this recipe gets into the skin of the insect, causing dehydration and then extermination. It is particularly helpful for soft-bodied insects. Mix no more than 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid soap (use a biodegradable, plant-based liquid soap and 1 quart water. Pour mixture into a spray bottle and spray pests as needed.
All-Purpose Pesticide Spray Gather some strong scented roots and spices such as cayenne, horseradish, ginger, garlic, onions, mint, rhubarb and anything else you can think of. Boil these in enough water to cover them and let the mixture sit overnight to soak. Strain solids from the liquid and discard solids. Pour liquid in a spray bottle with some All Natural Insecticide Soap (see above). This will keep for several weeks unless frozen. Garlic Variation: Instead of using all of the other herbs listed above, simply use 1-2 heads of garlic. Deer and rabbits in particular shy away from the strong scent of garlic.
Caffeine Spray While humans tend to enjoy the burst of energy that comes from caffeine, insects, particularly aphids, do not. Gather any or all of the following herbs: yarrow, tansy, pennyroyal, thyme, lavender, rue, catnip and artemisia. Mix at least a cup of this herbal mixture with 2 tablespoons used coffee grounds and 2 cups of water. Allow this to marinate for at least 24 hours before straining and placing into a spray bottle. This can keep for several weeks.
Nature has provided many tried and true pest control methods for us. They are all "organic" and do not harm the soil, groundwater, gardener, or the food growing in your garden. Remember to exercise a reasonable amount of tolerance when it comes to pests. Allow some balance to exist between friend and foe in your garden.
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