How to Keep Pests Out of the Garden
Dealing with and keeping pests out of the garden can be pretty challenging. Yet, that doesn’t mean you have to stay idle and allow them to gain the upper hand.
Here are the most common pests and some practical ways to deal with them, so you don’t have to fear them wreaking havoc on your plants.
These tiny, soft-bodied green critters multiply fast and can destroy any garden.
You can deal with them by planting greens that attract their natural enemies.
For example, parsley, sweet alyssum, buckwheat, sunflowers, dill, yarrow, and fennel attract ladybirds, parasitic wasps, praying mantis, and lacewings. They all feed on aphids and will do the dirty work for you.
Another option is to grow fragrant herbs such as basil, chives and mint since lice don’t like strong scents.
Slugs and snails
These slow critters are easy to spot – they leave a slimy trace all over the crime scene.
As gardens combine all things they love–food sources, moisture, and shelter–that means dealing with them can be quite problematic.
The good news is that you can deal with them naturally and organically.
The first and most effective method is to use a beer trap.
Yes, slugs and snails are drunkards who can’t resist beer taste. Slugs can hustle hard. Just fill a shallow tray with a bit of beer, and the thirsty critters will throw themselves in, drowning in the beer.
Another way to deal with them would be to place crushed eggshells around the plants they like to munch on. The sharp edges will cut their soft bodies and keep them away from your greens.
You can also use barriers and repellents to keep snails out without you having to kill them. Coarse substances like lava rock and sandpaper are quite effective, and copper can be an excellent barrier since it gives snails an electric shock and discourages them from climbing in and eating your plants.
Another preventive measure is to change how you water your garden. Instead of doing it in the evening, do it early in the morning. That will reduce moisture during the night and decrease snails’ attraction to the area.
Caterpillars sure know how to destroy a garden. Without a stop, they’ll munch until there’s no leaf left.
You can use the same method with the eggshells to deal with them.
Another option is to pick them up by hand and dispose of them, for example, in your neighbour’s garden or somewhere far.
Don’t throw them on the ground, and smash them with your shoes. That’s barbaric.
Try attracting more birds to your property. They’ll feast on the caterpillars and repay you with lovely songs.
Colorado potato beetle
Don’t let the potato in the name fool you. This notorious garden pest devours and destroys tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and more.
You may have to use a combination of different tactics to control their population and protect your plants.
Just like aphids, they don’t like strong smells, so you can fend them off by planting yarrow, catnip and garlic.
You can avoid the heavy damage that occurs in midsummer if you plant early-maturing varieties.
Another way is to use pesticides or pick them off plants and remove or crush the yellowish eggs planted underneath the leaves.
These tiny pest criminals are hard to spot but always leave evidence of their crimes. To get rid of them, you must attract their natural enemies – parasitic wasps.
Plant thyme, dill, cilantro, and yarrow to draw in this winged predator.
Insects also don’t like the energy rush that comes from caffeine.
Here’s a recipe for a home-made caffeine insecticide:
- Herbs: yarrow, thyme, lavender, tansy, rue, or catnip;
- 2 tablespoons used coffee grounds;
- 2 cups of water.
Mix a cup of the herbs with the coffee grounds and water. Leave the mixture to marinate for a day before using it on the garden’s critters.
Spray the plants early in the morning or after the sun sets.
Avoid doing it when it’s too hot outside or the sun’s rays are too strong. Otherwise, you risk burning your foliage.
Mice, rats, and squirrels are other common pests seeking food, water and shelter in your garden.
To deal with them effectively, you first need to understand what makes them want to take up residence there so that you can discourage them from that. Otherwise, you risk them appearing in your home, and you definitely don’t want that.
Rodents are attracted to compost piles, sheds, wood piles, bird feeders, and garden beds, and while the sprinkler system provides a water source, the abundance of vegetation gives them food and shelter.
Be warned that once they colonise your yard, they’ll look for better accommodations, especially during the colder months, which is an even bigger problem for your home. As if seeing them inside isn’t bad enough, they carry all sorts of dangerous pathogens.
If you see droppings, mounds, tunnels in the ground, plants disappearing, or even worse–you actually see a rodent, then your garden might be infested, and you need to deal with that.
To fight these pests, you have to remove their shelter and eliminate their food sources. You also want to control lawn grubs, as many rodents are attracted to them.
Other good ideas on how to keep rats out of your garden include, sealing any holes with wood or metal and improving sanitation near your garden, as the smell of unclean garbage or recycling beans attracts rodents.
Sometimes, if the infestation has already spread, it might be a great idea to call a professional pest control company to deal with the problem. The experts will not only apply effective treatment and deal with the problem swiftly, but they can also offer invaluable insight into protecting your garden and home from these pesky intruders.
Nothing can virtually guarantee that you won’t have a pest problem in your garden.
However, by getting to know these critters well, you can eliminate the conditions that attract them and mitigate most of the damage they can do otherwise.
And that will undoubtedly result in maximum yields and make your gardening year a success.