THE PENNY PINCHERS GUIDE TO GARDEN PEST CONTROL
Pests are a problem in many gardens and can ruin your flower bed or a good crop of vegetables. When dealing with them, especially in vegetable gardens, you want to use methods that are safe for both plants and humans.
Since avoiding the use of harsh chemicals is a good idea all around, here are some tips on some gentler methods of getting rid of garden pests.
You can mix up some of these solutions that are safe and you probably have the ingredients right in your kitchen!
Eliminate insects around the garden. Take an empty 2 liter soda bottle with 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 1 cup sugar. Next, slice up a banana peel into small pieces, put into the bottle, add 1 cup cold water, shake. Tie a piece of string on a low tree branch or place it on the ground to kill the 6 legged freeloaders. This is a non-toxic way to kill them.
Get rid of mealy bugs, one of the most insidious and common pests, by soaking q-tips in white vinegar. Nip them in the bud by dabbing insects with full strength white vinegar.
Put some bite in your mulch keeping hungry insects away from your vegetables. Shred aluminum foil into strips and mix in with your garden mulch. As a bonus the foil will reflect light back up onto your plants. You can also save the tinsel from your Christmas tree. Don’t throw it away; mix it into your top soil. It will serve the same purpose as shredding aluminum foil.
Make it too “hot” for the rodents or other animals eating your plants. Everyone knows that hot peppers make your mouth burn, so why would bugs and rodents like it? Chop up the hottest peppers you can find and combine it with 1Tbs cayenne pepper and ½ gallon of water. Boil the mix for about 15 minutes and let cool. Strain through cheesecloth and add 1 Tbs dishwashing liquid. Put into a spray bottle and spray the plants every 5 days or so.
Planting companion plants in your garden will deter insect pests. Aromatic plants such as basil, tansy, marigolds and sage will send a signal to bugs to go elsewhere. Try planting some near your prized vegetables. Mint, dill, thyme and sage are great near cabbage family plants. Best of all the savory herbs are edible.
No one likes the smell of ammonia, so after moping your floor soak some old sponges and place around the garden, this will deter pests.
Spray away garden pests. Keep some old spray bottles on hand to use around the garden. Here are 2 suggestions:
- Fill one with undiluted white vinegar to kill weeds and grass poking out of the cracks in your concrete also kills ants. DO NOT spray on the plants, the high acidity could kill them.
- For an effective insecticide that works on soft bodied pests, but won’t harm your plants: Mix several cloves of crushed garlic, ¼ cup canola oil and 3 Tbs hot pepper sauce and ½ teaspoon liquid soap in 1 gallon of water, mix well. Put into spray bottle, shake well before using.
To foil those cutworms that destroy your seedlings. Cutworms kill seedlings by encircling the stem and severing it. To protect your seedlings stick a toothpick in the soil about ¼ inch from each stem. This prevents a cutworm from encircling it.
Make collars for the vegetables, use empty milk cartons to discourage grubs and cutworms from attacking your young tomato and pepper plants. Cut off top and bottom of container and when ground is soft, push them into the ground around the plants.
Get slugs and snails out of your garden. Take a container of salt and douse the offenders. They won’t last long. Since they are mostly water, salt acts like a drying agent.
Make a trap for slugs and snails using a clean empty container; an empty milk jug works well; cut length-wise in half. Bury it in the area where you have seen these pesky creatures and pour in about a half can of warm leftover beer. You will more than likely find it full of drunk and drowned critters.
Trap for slugs that eat your new plants. Dig a hole and put in a plastic margarine tub, fill with beer or salted water. Place cut potatoes around the rim to attract the bugs. They can crawl in, but not crawl out.
Plagued by earwigs? Roll up a wet newspaper and put a rubber band around it to keep it from unraveling. Place it in the area where you have seen the insects and leave it overnight. In the morning it will be full of bugs. Carefully place the newspaper in a plastic grocery bag, tie in a knot and put in the trash. Repeat until they are all gone.
Make a natural pesticide by using your blender. Puree 4 onions, 2 cloves garlic, 2 Tbs cayenne pepper and one quart of water. Set aside and dilute 2 Tbs soap flakes in 2 gallons of water. Add contents from your blender; shake or stir well. You now have an environmentally safe solution to spray on your plants and rid them of pests.
Get bugs off your plants. Just when the plants are coming up, there they are eating away. Mix black pepper with flour and sprinkle it around the plants. Bugs will be gone!!
Do you have moles or gophers popping up in or near your garden? Try putting dirty used cat litter down the hole. They will leave to find a home somewhere else.
If you live in an area where deer are a problem, stake chicken wire flat on the ground around your garden. Deer do not like to walk on it.
Deter deer from your garden, spray your bushes with cayenne pepper and water mix.
Repelling deer by circling the garden with a cord about 3 feet off the ground. Tie strips of white fabric to it about every 2 feet; a tail height flash of white is spelling danger for the deer.
If there are neighborhood cats that think you garden is their private cat box. Foil them by putting orange peels and coffee grounds around your plants. Also acts as a great fertilizer.
Keep dogs and cats away from your garden. Don’t throw out old mothballs. Scatter them around the garden. Helps keep rodents away as well.
Keep out 4-legged pests; deer, rabbits, raccoons, cats, etc. they can’t stand the scent of vinegar; even after it has dried. Soak several rags in white vinegar and place on stakes around your vegetables. Re-soak the rags every 7-10 days.
The shiny metallic balloons that we all receive on birthdays, anniversaries, etc. can be put to good use in your garden. Simply cut them into vertical strips and hang them from poles around your vegetables and on fruit trees to repel birds, rabbits and squirrels.
Many people swear that a zip-lock bag filled half-way with water and attached over entry-ways will repel flies. Want to know more, check it out here.