Spring rains bring new health and life to our gardens. Unfortunately, they also create the perfect haven for pests to thrive. There are many safe, non-toxic alternatives to ridding and deterring unwanted guests from your gardens. These natural solutions have been tried and tested by Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens, and many before us. You may find it helpful to try a combination or variation of these, to best suit your particular situation.
Identify Your Insects
Identify all of the insects in your garden. Keeping good bugs like assassin bugs, praying mantis, lady-beetles (ladybugs) beetles, and spiders in your yard will be a huge help. They eat bad bugs! There are several ways to attract beneficial insects, and you can even order lady bugs online.
Natural Pesticide Sprays
Aphids and other similar insects can be sprayed with a dish soap and water solution, neem oil, and even peppermint essential oil. The soap solution should be sprayed directly where aphids or other harmful insects are present. The oils can be misted over the entire plant, and both have amazing health benefits to humans, as well. (That’s for another day!)
Create A Pest Barrier
Make a barrier with sawdust, ashes, or wood chips around your garden to deter certain pests, such as slugs and snails. Keep in mind that all of these will change the pH in your soil, so if barriers are close to planting areas, make sure to test your soil pH! (Most Agriculture Extension Agents will test it for you for a nominal fee.)
If you only want to protect certain plants, you can create a barrier around those specific plants. You can use plastic or metal scraps, such as tin or aluminum fool, just be sure to bury it several inches into the ground around the base of the plant. This works well for cutworms or other crawling or burrowing insects.
Use of Garlic and Herbs for Natural Pest Control
Planting garlic or herbs in your garden will deter many unwanted insects and other pests. Plant the garlic or herbs throughout your garden to keep pests at bay. To help keep deer away, plant herbs upwind from where the deer enter the area around your garden. Deer do not like strong scents! You can’t go wrong with these, your kitchen will smell amazing and your recipes delicious.
Use of Native Flowers & Shrubs are a Natural Alternative
Plant native shrubs, perennials and annuals. Most native varieties have evolved and survived hundreds of years in your area, facing the same issues you are facing. You can make a unique and beautiful native garden, that will be hardy and well suited to your ecosystem. For the best varieties, make sure to visit Lady Bird Johnson’s site, wildflowers.com.
Use of Poultry in Your Pest Control Plan
Keep ducks, guineas, geese and chickens in your yard. They love insects, and weeds! They are also very entertaining to watch, and can help you be more self sustaining with eggs and/or meat. Make sure to give them water and a safe shelter for nighttime and inclement weather.
Nature’s Best Exterminators
Bats…Having bats in the yard is not such a bad thing, and in fact most people do not even notice if they are around. They only come out at night, and eat pesky nocturnal insects. An average bat eats 3500 insects a night! Mosquitoes are active when bats are coming out for the night, so a colony of bats could do better than any can of spray ever could! (Ready to build a bat house yet???)
Frogs & Toads…Not only are they a joy to watch, but they will eat a lot of bugs in your garden. To help them be the most effective where you need them, provide light close to where the problem is (such as solar lights) to attract the bugs. You can easily make a haven, or even a mini mansion for frogs by simply adding a small light, a few rocks and a water source.
Try Using Chili Powder In Your Garden
For larger pests, use chili powder around your garden. Chili powder which will deter things like deer, raccoons, skunks, and opossums. It doesn’t harm the critters any more than it does us, just makes them sneezy and maybe a little thirsty. Don’t forget to save and dry hot peppers from your own garden this year, to make your own chili powder.
Lights And Noise For Pest Distraction
Lights, fans, radios, sprinklers and flags will deter wildlife. The movement and noise from these things will frighten unwanted wildlife from your garden. Scarecrows have been used for centuries. Timers and motion sensors are helpful, because the element of surprise is maintained.
There are many natural and alternative ways to rid your garden of pests. Though you may have to try a few, maybe even a combination, in the long run you will be helping your family, food and environment be much safer for all. If you have tried and succeeded with other ideas, please feel free to share them with us all. After all, when we make natural or alternative choices for ourselves, we are also helping our neighbors, a little bit at a time.
If you enjoyed this article, want to know more about this or other related interesting topics, please like and share this article. Be sure to like us, so you don’t miss anything, we are Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens on Facebook. We breed sell and ship poultry, pet pigs, bearded irises and much more. We have an 80 acre working farm, with great emphasis on all natural gardening and livestock management practices. We are blessed to have an 1840s General Store on our property which serves as our own site farmer’s market. Conveniently located on Johnstonville Rd., in Barnesville, Georgia, right off of I-75.
Special thanks to mymerrymessylife.com for helpful information and contributions by David Matthews in preparation of this article. Photo credits to Wikipedia.