It’s time for planting and also that time of the year where lots of bugs visit our garden. While there are certain insects you should invite into your garden, others are more of a nuisance.
Butterflies and bees actually help your garden by encouraging pollination. Bees, ants, and ladybugs are also welcomed because prey on insects that do more damage than good in your garden.
However, there are some bugs you don’t want in your garden because they can cause a lot of damage to your plants. You can keep these pests away without the use of pesticides, which you don’t want in your garden, especially if you have kids.
Pesticides have been linked to a wide range of human health hazards, from headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption. My biggest concern when it comes to these chemicals, are the endocrine disruptors because they interfere with almost every function in our bodies causing all sorts of health issues.
In this post, you will learn which are the pests you should watch out for and some natural ways to get rid of them. You will find simple tasks you can do to keep your garden and soil healthy to recommendations on stronger natural pesticides for when those pests take over.
Common pests you don’t want in your garden and how to get rid of them:
- Aphids leave damaged, deformed leaves that look like they’ve been sucked on. Deter them by attracting predatory insects to your garden. You can attract predators by planting marigolds, parsley, carrots, coriander, and mints.
- Beetles leave chewed leaves, especially with holes. Beetles should be kept away from plants using barriers like mesh.
- Caterpillars also leave chewed leaves, especially with holes. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around plants can repel them. It’s also wise to handpick caterpillar from plans as needed.
- Mosquitos aren’t necessarily harmful to your garden – just to the gardener. Repel them by planting herbs in the mint family, lemongrass, and basil.
- Moths and moth larvae leave leaf mines or white squiggly patterns on the leaves. They are especially attracted to plants in the cabbage family. Attracting predators will help them from taking over your garden.
- Slugs and snailswill eat your whole garden if you let them. Traps are effective – you can make a beer trap by leaving stale beer in a shallow dish in the garden. The slugs will be attracted to the smell, climb in, and drown in the beer. They also die when they are exposed to salt, so you could keep a salt shaker with you as you garden to stop them in their tracks.
Other ways to get rid of garden pests:
Garlic or Citrus Spray for Insect Pests
When more drastic methods are needed, garlic or citrus spray is non-toxic to humans but effective against most insect pests. All you have to do is spray the bottom of your plant leaves daily at first, until the pest are gone. Then keep on spraying once a week to prevent them from reproducing and coming back.
Simply make a strong garlic “tea” with 2 crushed garlic bulbs and 1/2 cup water, then strain the liquid into a spray bottle.
Make a citrus tea with 1 citrus fruit and 1/2 cup of water. Stick to really acidic fruits, like limes, lemon and grapefruits – the more acidic, the better.
These pesticides are more potent and harsh, but are plant derived and a bit more eco-friendly. They are still toxic, however, so only use them as a last resort.
- Neem is effective against moths, caterpillars, and aphids.
- Nicotine sulfate is effective against aphids, mites, and sucking insects.
In order to prevent pests from taking over your garden, consider some of these natural defenses to keep them from invading your garden in the first place.
Maintain Soil Quality
- Till as little as possible to avoid disturbing the beneficial microorganisms in your soil. Low-tilling also prevents excess runoff and erosion.
- Rotate crops from year to year to prevent plant diseases.
- Use compost to introduce beneficial microorganisms.
- Apply mulch to bare parts of the garden when plants are tall enough. Mulch helps keep the soil more moist and prevents weed growth.
- Plant marigolds, basil, and mints to attract predators that eat more harmful insects.
Larger Garden Pests
Mice, raccoons, and rabbits can also be a garden nuisance. It sounds pretty nuts, but sprinkling human hair around the border of your garden can help keep them out.
If you want to keep off birds from your berries, place mirrors around them bushes. You’ll be surprised at how effective this is.
While you’ll probably end up sharing some of your harvest with the critters around you, using these natural garden pest repellant methods can help you keep as much of it for you and your family without using toxic chemicals.
Do you use any other natural method to keep your garden pests away? If so, share it in the comments.