Chemical pesticides are dangerous poisons. Using these in your garden can contaminate your homegrown produce, and exposure to these chemicals can cause serious health problems for you and your children. If you need to keep the pests out of your garden this year, you can successfully accomplish this task with a few natural, eco-friendly items.
Spreading coffee grounds around your garden not only keeps away moles, gnats, snails and slugs, but it is a great fertilizer. (Additionally, you can spread this onto your lawn before watering, which will keep it green and healthy.)
Peppermint essential oil
A few drops of this oil in water sprayed onto your plants will keep ants away. You can also moisten pieces of fabric with peppermint essential oil and place them around the garden to deter rodents, rabbits, and squirrels.
This product is made from fossilized algae. You can sprinkle it in your garden, and when insects walk over it, it sticks to their exoskeletons, drawing out the lipids. This eventually causes them to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth claims to be safe for humans and pets. Use it sparingly, however, as it will kill the helpful insects, as well, like ladybugs and spiders.
Liquid castile soap
Mix 2 tablespoons of castile soap and 1 quart of water and spray onto your plants. This will keep many different insects away, including moths. Again, use this sparingly, as too much soap will potentially damage your plants.
Try sprinkling your garden with red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or turmeric. This can deter ants, rabbits, gophers, rats, and a number of other unwanted creatures. Crushed garlic can also help, or water that crushed garlic has been soaking in. Garlic is also a great natural fungicide. Just be careful, as using it too often, or using it on crops that don’t need it can be damaging to your garden.
And just to throw in one more, you can pour beer into shallow cups or jar lids and lay them in the garden beds. They attract and kill slugs.
This post was updated from my previously published article over at Examiner.