There’s nothing more frustrating than watching bugs dine out on your carefully tended plants, leaving them droopy, denuded or worst of all, dead. But while your first thought is to head for the pesticide aisle at your garden store, here are some natural options that pose less harm to the environment and fewer risks to the four and two-legged residents of your home.
Start with the Basics: Water
Did you know you can get rid of some garden pests simply by washing them away? That’s right, your hose is your simplest pest management tool. But you’ll get much further by putting some force behind it, so use the X-Stream Watering Wand from Orbit to blast away even the most persistent critters.
Discourage Critters by Spraying
Water also works well to prevent plants from being eaten by animal pests such as gophers, moles, and deer – use the yard enforcer motion detector to instantly activate your watering system and send them scurrying.
Banish with Beer
You’re not the only one who likes a tasty craft brew — snails and slugs are attracted by that rich, yeasty smell. Use tuna cans or something else with a deep rim so they fall in when they come for a cold one. Fruit juice is almost as effective.
Gardeners in the know stretch their garden dollars by making a homemade insecticidal spray with dish soap, vegetable oil, and water. The most common recipe: 2.5 tablespoons dish soap and 2.5 tablespoons of vegetable oil per gallon of water. Add two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce to the brew to keep even more varieties of pests away.
Go Strong with Garlic
Apparently pests dislike garlic just as much as vampires do. To protect houseplants, stick a clove of garlic into the soil. Outdoors, make a spray by crushing six cloves of garlic and pouring a quart of boiling water over it to make a concentrate. Dilute again by half, then put into a spray bottle, first straining out the garlic bits so they don’t clog the nozzle.
Keep Away with Copper
A safe, non-toxic way to keep slugs and snails out of garden beds is to line the edge with copper strips. Slugs and snails hate copper and won’t cross it, and you won’t have to kill them to keep them at bay.
Mix in the Marigolds
That pungent smell you may have noticed emanating from marigolds is repellant to whiteflies and thrips, making them the perfect disruptive neighbor in your garden beds. At the same time, marigolds attract beneficial insects like ladybugs which attack and kill aphids, and the roots are toxic to hornworms and nematodes.
This is just the beginning when it comes to natural pest control — mint, neem oil, and many other ingredients can be added to homemade sprays to boost their potency. So have fun with that kitchen chemistry and say goodbye to garden pests.