We all need a chance to wind down and relax after a long day of work or caring for our families. Gardens are a backyard getaway of sorts, allowing us to enjoy nature and take pride in our ability to better the world around us. However, when pests invade, that peaceful little oasis can turn into a battleground. Rather than purchasing costly and potentially dangerous pesticides, give natural pest control a try. It often works just as well as chemical products, and it is better for you and the environment. These five remedies will help you get your garden back.
Prevent Pests from Invading
Don’t wait for pests to become an issue. Keep them from coming to your yard in the first place by ridding your garden of any weeds or debris, two places where insects like to breed. In addition, get rid of infected or failing plants. Finally, focus on building healthy soil so your plants can thrive. Engage in mulching and composting, and use natural fertilizer to top-dress your soil.
Create a Garlic Spray
If you are dealing with aphids, whiteflies or spider mites, a garlic oil spray should take care of the problem. Soak 10 cloves of minced garlic in two teaspoons of mineral oil. Allow it to sit for at least one full day. Using a strainer, separate the garlic and mineral oil. Mix the garlic with two and a half cups of water and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Combine and add to a spray bottle. Put the mixture on all of your plants for best results.
Attract “Good” Insects
There are certain insects, like ladybugs and lacewings, which prey on the pests you want to keep out of your garden. There are two ways to get these helpful creatures on your side: you can purchase them and bring them in yourself, or you can add specific plants to your garden to attract the helpful insects that you need.
Ladybugs, for example, eat mites, aphids and whiteflies. They like yarrow, tansy or daisy plants. Lacewings also help control aphid populations, and they are attracted to goldenrod, yarrow, and asters. If you are having a caterpillar problem, plant carrots, Queen Anne’s lace, or even parsley. These plants will draw in chalcids and brachonids, which should eliminate your caterpillar population.
Mix a Soap Solution
If the garlic spray mentioned above requires too much preparation for you, try mixing up a soap solution instead. It will also help with aphids, whiteflies and spider mites and involves just two ingredients: soap flakes and water. Pour eight and a half cups of warm water into a container and allow two tablespoons of soap flakes to dissolve inside. Measure the soap out carefully; too much could damage your plants. Take the solution and apply it to the problem areas once a week.
Set Up Traps and Barriers
There are a number of traps and barriers that can help in your battle against bugs. A cloche protects your young plants from pests; it resembles a small greenhouse. Yellow flypaper works well when it comes to whiteflies and aphids. And, there are pheromone traps available as well, but since they are very effective at attracting insects, you only want to use them along the perimeter of your garden.
Natural pest control is a great alternative to pesticides. With a little bit of work, you can reclaim your garden and get back to doing what you enjoy.
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