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DIY Garden Pest Control

Every gardener knows that planting a garden isn’t all ripe tomatoes and roses. Growing a garden is a lot of work. You’ve got to make sure your soil is healthy, prevent plant diseases, and keep critters from chowing down on your plants like it’s their own personal buffet.

Gardens are vulnerable to a number of pests and critters. From deer and rabbits, to beetles and aphids, to slugs and snails, there are a lot of pests trying to destroy your garden. It may seem nearly impossible to rid your garden of all these predators without harming your plants with chemicals – but it is possible!

Whether you have a problem with mammals, insects, or gastropods, there are a variety of safe and innovative ways to keep your garden safe.

  Mammals

  Problem animals:

  Squirrels, rabbits, deer, etc

http://www.flickr.com/photos/amynkassam/2596586732/

Solutions:

  • Fencing is one of the best ways to keep mammals out of your garden – especially deer! However building a fence can be expensive and difficult. If deer are your number one problem, there are other deer solutions you can try that aren’t as costly or involved. 
  • Owning a cat or dog is another good way to deter wildlife. Most smaller animals, like rabbits and skunks, won’t come close to your property if they smell dog or cat hair. Some gardeners even suggest spreading dog or cat hair throughout their garden as a method of control.
  • Live traps are another humane way of getting rid of critters. You won’t harm the animal, but you can relocate it somewhere far away from your property.
  • Some gardeners swear by organic animals repellents, they won’t harm your plants and work well to keep animals such as deer and squirrels.
  • Laying chicken wire flat on the ground around the perimeter of your garden is said to keep deer away – they don’t like the feeling of it on their feet.
  • Other ideas you can try: raised garden beds, spreading cayenne pepper throughout your garden (most animals hate cayenne).

  Insects

  Problem insects:

  Aphids, lily beetle, mealybugs, ants, etc

http://www.flickr.com/photos/csr02083/462250898/

Solutions:

  • Attracting beneficial insects to your garden is a great way to get rid of the insects that are tearing your garden up.
    • Lacewings prey on aphids, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, psyllips, thrips, whiteflies, and more! 
    • Ground beetles prey on root maggots, cutworms, and even slugs!
    • Lady Beetle larvae and adults feed on aphids, scale insects, thrips, mealybugs, and mites
  • Garden insects don’t love all plants, some plants actually deter them!
    • Moths and lady bugs hate bay leaves
    • Cabbage moths, aphids, weevils, carrot flies, rust flies, worms, and red spiders hate onions
    • Aromatic herbs such as yarrow, citronella, mint, fennel, catnip, basil, and lemongrass are deterrents for a large variety of garden pests
  • Organic pesticides are another way of keeping bugs out of your garden. Make sure that you purchase a product that not only claims it’s organic, but is also OMRI®-listed and compliant for use in organic gardening so it won’t harm your plants.

 Gastropods

  Problem pests:

  Slugs, snails

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33346716@N03/4564663538/

Solutions:

  • Like insects, snails and slugs have their own share of predators that you can attract to your garden. Attract frogs and toads by creating homes for them with fallen branches and piles of leaves. Attract thrushes with berry trees and shrubs.
  • While slugs and snails can crawl over razor blades and up houses, there are a few materials they can’t cross. Spread crushed eggshells around the perimeter of your garden to serve as a barrier method. Pine needles, coffee grinds, fire place ashes, sand and lime all work similarly.
  • Get them drunk! Snails and slugs love the smell of yeast. Bury an open container of beer halfway down into your garden and leave it there overnight. The next morning you’re practically guaranteed to see a few slimy pests floating around.

Whether you have a problem with one of these groups, or all three of them, there are plenty of control options you can try to keep your garden pest and critter free. It takes time to figure out which pest and critter control method works best for your garden, but there is a solution out there.
 

Michelle is an aspiring writer who currently freelances for a critter control company. When she’s not working you can find her catching up on celebrity gossip, killing brain cells watching trashy reality TV, or traveling with friends.

  

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