Bugs are a reality of life in the garden.
However, if left unchecked these pesky insects can spoil all your hard work by devouring much of your delicious food before you have the chance to enjoy it. There are some natural remedies to these pesky insects that are totally non-toxic to humans and do not damage the environment.
1) Install a bird house – a single Barn Swallow will eat about 850 insects a day.
2) Install a bat house – a single bat will eat about 1000 insects an hour or 6000 to 8000 in a single night.
3) Beneficial Insects – Releasing Lady Bugs or Praying Mantis into your garden is a very effective means of controlling aphids, mealy bugs, leaf worms, and many other pests. You can order beneficial insects online and have them shipped live to your house from several companies such as buglogical.com.
4) Companion Plants – Plant a hedge of marigolds around the perimeter of your garden to help keep away harmful insects. Plant another concentric hedge of basil around the perimeter of your garden to help repel rabbits. Planting garlic and onion between your other plants will confuse bugs.
5) Garlic & Pepper Spray – Protect your garden plants from cabbageworms, caterpillars, hornworms, aphids, flea beetles and other chewing/sucking insects by routinely using a natural spray that you can make at home. Brew up a batch as follows:
6 cloves of garlic
1 cup hot peppers
1 minced onion
1 Tbsp. natural liquid dish soap
2 cups water
Add all ingredients except the soap and blend. Strain, mix in soap and use as spray. Make sure you treat the underside of the leaves because that is where the bugs hide. The spray must be reapplied once every two weeks or more often if it rains. Ground cayenne or red hot pepper powder can also be sprinkled on the leaves of plants (apply when leaves are slightly damp) to repel chewing insects or added to the planting hole with bone meal or fertilizer to keep squirrels, chipmunks, dogs and other mammals away from your gardens. Be sure to reapply after rain.
6) Diatomaceous Earth – can be sprinkled in the garden (or in the house) to control ants. This product comes from the sea and is used as a fine powder. It is harmless to humans as long as you do not breathe the airborne fine powder.
7) Mint – planted as a hedge around the garden (or around the perimeter of your house) interferes with the sense of smell of ants keeping them away.
8)Limestone – Buffer the pH of your garden with limestone to deter slugs.The presence of slugs indicates that your soil is too acidic.
Article by Brian Hetrich, Greenhouse Manager