Do you have uninvited guests in your garden? Pesky pests can drive a home gardener crazy!
We have some suggestions for natural pest control that are safe and effective. The one thing we don’t want to use are nasty chemicals and toxic sprays! Not only is that dangerous for people and pets, but they’re harmful to the soil, water and air.
- Oil Sprays are a time-tested way to rid your garden of pests. Mix one cup of vegetable oil with 3 tbs of Dr. Bronner’s soap, and spray the oily mixture directly on your plants. The oil suffocates pests, including pest larvae, eliminating another generation of bugs!
- Similar to the oil spray, a pure soap spray is also very effective, made with one quart of water and 2 tsp of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap. This will control mites, aphids, whiteflies and beetles! (Just be careful not to apply in the heat of the day, but rather early in the morning or evening.)
- Neem Oil from the seeds of the neem tree is a powerful, natural insecticide, capable of disrupting the life cycle of insects at all stages. It’s biodegradedable and nontoxic to pets, birds, fish and other wildlife. It is also a natural fungicide that can combat powder mildew and there fungal infections on plants. Neem oil can be found at gardening stores or natural foods markets.
- To use Neem oil, mix 1 tsp of mild liquid soap and 2 tsp of Neem oil, and spray on affected plants.
- Diatomaceous Earth DE is made from a rock created by fossilized algae, and actually makes up 26 percent of the earth’s crust! It has many uses, and an effective natural insecticide is just one of them. To apply, dust the ground around your plants, or sprinkle on the foliage. Wear a mask and gloves while applying, as you don’t want to breathe the dust, although it is not dangerous to children or pets.
One of the most colorful natural insecticides is flowers! Marigolds, nasturtiums, basil and mint repel flying garden pests, while attracting beneficial insects to your garden. Alliums and catmint will keep away aphids and mites. Lady bugs, who feast on mites, are one of the best sources of natural pest control. They can be purchased from any garden supply. Plant some dill or coriander in your garden to keep them happy, and spice up your meals as well!
Crushed egg shells, coffee grounds, pine needs and ash from your fireplace are also repel slugs, snails and creeping things. The world of natural pest control is vast and creative!
What are your favorite forms of natural pest control?