There cannot be anything more disheartening when a hopeful garden season ends abruptly because of a pest infestation. Preventing garden pests is a crucial part of your garden maintenance plan. Luckily, nature offers plenty of harmless ways to discourage and manage harmful insects.
Here are a few easy and safe pest remedies that can be found in the kitchen. Always test these remedies on a small portion of the plant to ensure they will not harm it. Also never apply on a hot or bright sunny day, as it could cause plants to burn.
- Orange and banana peels – orange peels contain d-Limonene, which breaks down the waxy coating on ants and aphids and kills them. Cut up peels and bury them one to two inches deep in soil. Alternatively scatter peels around stems or hang from branches.
- Beer – put a little beer in a shallow container and place it in the garden. Slugs and snails crawl in, but can’t crawl out.
- Cinnamon – sprinkle on seedlings affected by damping-off disease (a fungus that proliferates in the damp seedling environment and attacks and kills the young stems and roots.
- Eggshells – crush shells and sprinkle them on top of the soil around the stems. Slugs, cutworms and other insects are repelled by the sharp edges.
- Garlic – make a garlic plant spray by pureeing 2 bulbs of garlic. Pour half cup of boiling water over garlic, cover and steep overnight. Strain, put in a spray bottle. Spray the bottoms of the leaves daily, every few days or once a week.
- Apple cider vinegar – put a small amount of apple cider vinegar in a jar next to the plants. Aphids and fruit flies will be attracted, fall in and drown.
- Potato – use potato slices as bait to help clear the soil of wireworms before planting. Simply place potato slices in your garden on the soil surface: the potatoes will draw out the wireworms, which you can remove along with the potatoes.
- Tomato leaf spray – used to control aphids and other insects, chop two cups of fresh tomato leaves into one quart of water, and let steep overnight. Strain out the plant material and spray onto plant foliage.