If you’re a gardener, you may be looking for ways to rid your summer garden of pests. For many people, the obvious choice is to purchase a chemical pesticide from a retailer. However, spraying pesticides in your garden can be harmful to your family, especially to kids and pets. Also, while pesticides may kill the bugs that are being a nuisance in your garden, they do nothing to remedy the conditions that make your garden attractive to pests in the first place, so you are likely to have further pest problems in the future. Instead, choose some green options that will keep pests at bay without polluting your yard or garden with toxic chemicals.
Go Clutter Free:
A cluttered garden can provide ideal spaces for pests to move into. Really, your garden should be kept neat and tidy, with only plants and dirt. Using straw and similar materials in the garden can provide mice and other small rodents with attractive homes. While decorative garden items might be fun, keep in mind that slugs and other plant-eaters might set up shop in the hollow space under a garden gnome or beneath a decorative wheel barrow – especially if dead grasses and twigs and such are allowed to collect near or underneath these things.
Incorporate Pest Repellent Plants:
Some plants will naturally ward off certain creatures. For example, planting rue near your garden bed will keep pesky cats out. Planting chives in your garden will keep japanese beetles away. Plus, they’re tasty! Planting petunias can add some color to your garden, while also repelling insects like tomato worms and aphids. Adding flowers and plants to your garden that naturally repel certain bugs is a great way to let your garden take care of pest control on its own!
DIY Pest Control
Is there a specific pest that you’re worried about in your garden? You may already have the ingredients in your cupboard to take care of a snacking slug or a pesky mouse:
- Stop Slugs: A slug infestation can become a slow-moving wave of destruction in your garden. Garden slugs are less than particular about which of your plants they like to dine on. They’ll eat lettuce and other veggies, flowers, and pretty much everything in between. To stop slugs naturally, there are a few pesticide-free options. Sprinkling coffee grounds and egg shells around your plants will keep slugs away. You can also fill a jar with corn meal and place it on its side in your garden. Slugs will venture inside the jar and eat the corn meal, which kills them. If you don’t like the idea of actually killing your local family of slugs, you can also hand-pick them out of your garden and place them elsewhere. They come out at night, so you can use a flashlight and pluck them out of your garden manually.
- Thwart Aphids: Aphids are tiny bugs that suck the juices out of leaves, resulting in yellowed or damaged-looking leaves. They also produce a substance called honeydew, which can attract ants. Aphids can be all different colors, but you may be able to identify them by their habit of clustering together on plants. They reproduce very quickly, and can become a big problem in the garden. Instead of spraying harmful chemicals, diylife.com suggests making a mixture of 1/2 cup finely grated ginger and 2 cups water, letting the mixture sit for a couple of hours and then spraying on stems and leaves. This will repel aphids, but will not kill an existing aphid population. You could also plant ginger in your garden.
- Repel Caterpillars: The children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar was certainly based on a true story! These squirmy insects may one day turn into pretty butterflies, but in the meantime they’ll ravage your garden plants. Luckily, there are a few household ways to repel caterpillars. Chopping fresh garlic cloves into fine pieces and sprinkling them in the garden is a good way to keep caterpillars at bay. Cayenne pepper and other hot peppers will also repel these bugs. You can mix cayenne with water and spray on stems and leaves to keep caterpillars out.
Using chemicals in your garden can make your family or your pet sick and can contaminate your lovingly-tended plants. Try using some of these cost-effective and chemical-free methods and watch your garden grow safely and naturally.