Ways to Ward Off Garden Pests
May 8, 2013
We have probably all planted something that gets nipped off by a deer, or covered in aphids or mold. Rather than allow this to stop you from the pleasure of gardening, there are some simple, cheap, and natural solutions you can make in your own kitchen. They may not always work well for your particular pests, but it's a cheap, safe option to try before going and buying toxic sprays.
If your problem is little creatures like whiteflies or aphids, you can use water through a fine spraying hose nozzle and wash them off. Make sure to get both top and bottom of the leaves and repeat whenever insects are seen. Introducing a ladybug or two won't hurt, either.
Soap contains fatty acids that will dissolve the outer shell of many insects and eventually kill them. You can add soap to your water to help control such pests as aphids and mites. 1 teaspoon natural dish soap to 1 quart of water is a good proportion. As with the water, spray both top and bottom and repeat as needed.
Some animals will not be deterred by just soap and water. To discourage animals such as deer, voles, birds, raccoons, or your own pets, try a homemade pepper spray. Blend together 6 or so cloves of garlic, 1 small hot pepper (the hottest you can find), and 1 cup of water. Allow to steep overnight and then strain the mixture through a piece of cheesecloth or a nylon stocking into a 1-quart spray bottle. Add 1 teaspoon dish soap and add water until bottle is full. Apply thoroughly to your plants and store in refrigerator for up to a week.
If you are specifically dealing with rabbits, try to find out what plants they avoid in your area, such as yarrow or marigold, and add a cup of leaves from those plants to your garlic mixture when blending the above mixture.
The very best way to keep deer and rabbits out of your garden is simply to put up a fence! 10 foot metal stakes and graduated field fence make a good 8 foot fence.
If you're having a fungal problem on your roses or other plants, try 1 teaspoon each of vinegar, baking soda, vegetable oil, and dish soap. Dissolve baking soda in a cup of warm water and then add remaining ingredients to your 1 quart spray bottle, topping off with water. You'll want to remove the very bad leaves from your plant, then spray the remaining plant lightly every week as needed.
You'll need to reapply the sprays each time there is rain or lots of dew, but you're keeping chemicals out of the ground and out of you.