Natural Pest Control Solutions for your Garden
Pests are unwelcome in any garden, but before you spritz on the pesticide, remember that while it is effective in ridding a garden of pests, it can also be harmful to your family, your pets, people eating your produce, and to the environment in general. In fact, it is possible that your homegrown produce exposed to pesticide may have higher levels of pesticide than supermarket grown non-organic produce simply because home use is unregulated. But while chemical pesticides pose dangers to health, that doesn’t mean you should let the pests munch on your precious greens. Mother Nature has her own way of balancing things out. When facing these pesky invaders, go Earth-friendly with nature’s own pest control solutions.
Use Homemade Insect Repellants
Instead of using chemical pesticides, go for homemade anti-pest sprays formulated with natural ingredients you can find in your own home. These sprays are effective for controlling persistent pest issues without bombarding your plants with harmful chemicals. Cooking oil with a little liquid dish soap can be used for combating aphids, spidermites and whiteflies. Red pepper is good for fighting leafhoppers, spittlebugs, and beetles. Garlic with water and cooking oil can keep mealy bugs, aphids, and mice away. Figure out what pests are invading your garden, and find the corresponding anti-pest spray recipe for them.
Keep your Garden Fenced In
Protect your garden from bigger pests by erecting physical barriers from animals like raccoons, rabbits, and deers. Keeping your plants fenced in will prevent these critters from feasting on your produce while you sleep.
Change your Garden’s Scent Profile
The scent of fruits and veggies are heaven to pesky intruders. Drive them away with scents that are either alien to them, or they downright hate. Strong scents like those from perfumed soap and inexpensive cologne can drive bigger pests, like rabbits and deer, away.
Another great repellant is coffee grounds. Not only do they nourish the soil, they also repel a lot of the usual suspects. Spread spent coffee grounds on the ground to drive away slugs, cats, and deer. If you don’t drink coffee, or use instant, stop by your neighborhood coffee shop and ask if you can have their used grounds. A lot of coffee shops give them away for free since they know its value in the garden.
Opt for Companion Gardening
Some plants are naturally repellant to garden pests because of their taste and features, like thorns. Incorporate these plants in pairs with your most vulnerable plants to drive pests away. Love tomatoes? Protect them by surrounding them with strong scented basil to keep gnawers away. Added bonus, they complement each other in the kitchen as well.
Use Floating Row Covers
Floating row covers aren’t only useful for protecting plants against frost. They’re also useful for protecting your plant beds from flying insects and birds. Aside from ensuring that predators don’t eat your plants, you can also protect them from insects seeking to lay their eggs.
Keep your Compost Bin Covered
Aside from your plants, scavenging rodents may also find your compost bin attractive. Make sure your compost bin is covered securely. It also helps to keep food waste covered with dry matter to keep them from attracting pests.
Get Rid of Insect Habitats
Keep your garden clean and the soil healthy to make it uninviting to possible insect tenants. Clear the area of old branches and weeds to make sure they don’t have places to breed. Try to keep foliage dry by watering early, or by utilizing irrigation methods that deliver directly to the roots to discourage insects and fungi from thriving.
Remember that not all insects and animals in your garden are pests. Some of them, like frogs, ladybugs, and lacewings, are actually beneficial to have around as they feed on pests that feed on your plants. Keep them in mind before embarking on pest control efforts to ensure that you’re not doing more harm than good.