Garden time is here, and with the sun and rain comes planting, weeding, and bugs. If you are a gardener and want to control all those pests in your garden the natural way, consider one of these 10 green methods for pest control. Mother Nature will thank you, and your garden will be happy and more productive all summer long.
ORGANIC PEST CONTROL
- Beer for Slugs: If you've got an infestation of slugs in your garden and want to keep those pesky critters away from your fruit and veggies, try using a beer trap. Simply fill a mason or canning jar about ¾ of the way to the top with dark ale. Bury the jar in the dirt so that the rim is just slightly above the soil. The slugs should be drawn to the beer, and once they lean in for a quick sip, should fall right in and get stuck.
- Garlic Fire Spray: Keeping pests away from your strawberries or growing lettuce is a bit of chore. Rather than zap the bugs with harmful chemicals, try a quick mix of vegetable oil, chili powder, and garlic. Blend together 4 garlic bulbs, 3 tablespoons of chili powder, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and about 8 cups of water. Strain the pulp through a coffee filter and into a spray bottle. Every other day (or right after it rains) spray your garlic fire mix onto the leaves of any plant you want to protect.
- Rhubarb Aphid Killer: Anyone with rose plants knows how much those tiny aphids love to eat rosebuds and other fragile flowers. To cut down on these pests, try cutting up rhubarb leaves into small pieces and boiling them. Let the water and rhubarb mix settle for several days and then strain out the solid pieces. Spray the leftover liquid on your rose plants to kill off aphids and mites.
- Vinegar Weed Deterrent: Every spring gardeners battle young weeds in and around the perimeter of the garden. Rather than pull these weeds only to have them grow back the next week, try a little household vinegar. Spraying vinegar on young weeds before they flower and bloom will keep them from growing back so quickly. Some weeds are more susceptible to vinegar, so be prepared to experiment on a trial-and-error basis.
- Crushed Egg Shells: If your plants are lacking calcium, try crushing up a handful of eggshells and mixing the pieces around the roots of your plants. After time the naturally occurring calcium in the shells will slowly leech into the soil and help the plants come alive. Many a farmer also claims crushed eggs shells will keep away many pests from the garden, from cut worms to lizards.
- Fish Fertilizer: Fish fertilizer, not only fantastic for the soil (and any plants you might have in the garden) also does a great job of masking the smell of plants bugs might find tempting. The naturally occurring oil in the fertilizer also is handy for smothering other, smaller pests such as mites and thrips.
- Pizza Box Traps: Squash bugs can be a big problem for some gardeners. Instead of trying to pick them off of your plants by hand, try sliding an open pizza box (or a piece of cardboard with its edge turned up) under your plants early in the morning. Shake the plant with one hand and let the young squash bugs fall onto the cardboard. When you are done, shake the unlucky bugs into a bucket of soapy water or (for the less tender-hearted) just squish them by hand.
- Fowl Patrol: Pet ducks or chickens are a great way to control garden pests like earwigs and slugs. Try letting your chickens and ducks follow you through the garden every morning while you weed and check your plants. Chickens love to snack on any bug that can't run away, and ducks love gobbling down the slugs that hide in the cool, damp places in the garden.
- Diatomaceous Earth: This naturally occurring rock is used by farmers and gardeners alike to kill off garden pests. The dry, gritty nature of diatomaceous earth will actually absorb the moisture from most bugs and dehydrate them, killing them off as they chew on your plants. Simply sprinkle some on and around infected plants and let nature do the rest.
- Bug Traps: Instead of killing off all the local insects with a chemical spray (something that can harm the good bugs as well as your health) try purchasing simple bug traps at the hardware store to cut down on specific bug populations in your back yard. Many major retailers sell chemical-free traps for earwigs, slugs, ants, silverfish, and more.