Are you looking for natural garden pest control methods? Do You know that you can find them in your own kitchen? Learn how to use them now!
As a gardener, you know that plants are at the mercy of their environment. Even on the sunniest of days, your garden could be experiencing overly dry or wet conditions, be infested with mildew, slugs, aphids, ants, whiteflies and more. We try to prevent and control these issues as much as possible. Most of the time I’d like to focus on what I’m bringing from garden to table, but what about the other way around? Did you know that you can find remedies for common garden ailments using items you likely have in your kitchen right now? Yes there are natural garden pest control remedies in your kitchen!
Here are a few tips for natural garden pest control from ordinary ingredients in your home.
If you have squirrels who dig up your seedlings and eat your tomatoes, you may want to break out the hot stuff. Just when my tomatoes start to ripen, they rip them from the vine, eat only one bite and then strategically place the half-eaten fruit where it’s sure to catch my eye and raise my ire.
Thankfully, squirrels do not like hot pepper (capsaicin) and you can use it to safely repel them. Either sprinkle it directly onto garden areas (not on the edible parts) or make a hot pepper spray. I use cayenne pepper, but other hot peppers will do (just make sure they’re HOT). If you sprinkle it directly, put it on the leaves and the dirt surrounding the tomatoes or other plants. If you have fresh peppers (like the habaneros pictured above), those can be blended instead of powdered pepper. (You might want to use gloves for that!). This is one effective natural garden pest control.
3 tablespoons cayenne pepper (powder)
1 quart water
1/2 teaspoon castile soap
I had slugs eating away at the leaves of my plants this past season. If you notice sudden and rapidly spreading holes in the leaves of your plants, you may have slugs. Slugs climb up your beautiful plant stems and feast on the leaves. They can demolish a garden quickly and swiftly. Left untreated, you’ll have irreparable damage in your garden. So, what’s a gardener to do?
Try cracking open a beer and let them go for a swim. Slugs are attracted to beer, so pour some in a shallow dish in your garden near where they are doing damage and let them dive in. I use a crème brûlée ramekin because it’s shallow and easy for them to crawl into and die.
Eggshells have multiple purposes in the garden – as a nutrient additive and as pest control.
Egg shells are a great source of calcium. Calcium deficiencies in plants, like tomatoes, can be a cause for diseases like Blossom End Rot. When a plant is deficient in calcium it impacts its ability for uptake of other nutrients. I grind eggshells to a fine powder (using a hand-held coffee/spice grinder) and place them in the hole in the dirt where I plant my tomato transplants at the beginning of the season for an extra boost as a preventative measure.
Shells of eggs can also be a pest deterrent. When I put out the beer for my slug problem, I also lightly crushed eggshells and placed them around each plant they were attacking. Slugs “slither” and have trouble crossing over the sharp edges of the shell pieces. The point is to prevent them from getting to the plant stems so they can’t climb up to the leaves.
Much to my horrifying discovery, we had raccoons using our property as a latrine last summer. Yes, a latrine. Raccoons tend to defecate in communal areas. Quaint, huh? No…. no it’s not, especially if it’s in your garden. Although this isn’t a problem that only impacts gardeners, raccoons are pesky creatures who don’t have a lot of boundaries.
At first, I went on extreme defense and put moth balls at the entry area where they would have come through. I don’t know about you, but sitting outside in the nice summer air with the fine fragrance of moth balls isn’t that appealing. So, I quickly trashed that solution and traded it in for mint. Raccoons hate the smell of mint. You can either make a solution of peppermint oil and water and spray in applicable areas. Or…just buy a whole bunch of mint plants and use it as a repellent … and a cocktail ingredient.
Tip: Some say mint can also be a natural repellent for mosquitoes, ants and flies. Might be worth a try.
15-20 drops of peppermint oil
1 quart water
There are several plants in my garden that are susceptible to moldy conditions – zucchini, cucumbers and sage.
I’ve tried different solutions, including making sprays with milk and have found that a mixture of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and water is what works the best. It’s also best to get ahead of mildew or treat it as soon as you see it. Before spraying, try to remove some of the most affected leaves. If they look like no amount of spray will save them, cut them loose.
2 teaspoons sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
1 quart water
Few drops of castille soap (optional)
Aphids and whiteflies can be a common pest in the garden. They are very small, but very active and can be destructive if left to their own devices. Spraying a combination of garlic and water can help reduce these infestations.
Combine in a blender:
6 cloves garlic
1 quart water
Strain the mixture and add more water to equal about 1 quart
Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices to use in baking, but it also has multiple uses in the garden as an anti-fungal agent and a pest repellent.
If you grow plants ahead of the season to transplant to the garden in spring, you may be familiar with a phenomenon called “Dampening Off.” This is a fungal infection that causes newly emerging seedlings to wilt and die. Cinnamon has anti-fungal properties. Sprinkle cinnamon on the seed cells right after planting or sprinkle it at the first signs of dampening off to prevent it from spreading.
If you have a trail of ants marching into your garden during the summer, sprinkle a trail of cinnamon. They apparently don’t like to walk across it. It won’t kill ants, but should repel them.
Although preventing garden problems is most ideal, sometimes it’s not enough. Luckily, natural garden pest control may be right at home and are healthier alternatives to toxic chemical solutions.
I'm Catherine, The Wine Box Gardener. I'm all about growing LOTS of organic vegetables and herb in the smallest of spaces -- and do most of it by recycling wooden wine boxes as planters. Come see what's growing in my urban garden, and get tips and recipes on my website http://www.wineboxgardener.com/.Follow @wineboxgardener on social to keep up with all the latest using the links above or: Instagram https://www.instagram.com/wineboxgardener/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wineboxgardener Twitter https://twitter.com/wineboxgardener
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