Every garden attracts critters that you wish would call somewhere else home. Not only do you need to sometimes keep unwanted insects at bay, but also those pesky deer and rabbits too. Not only can they destroy your plants, they can end up ruining your enjoyment of your back yard (I still remember the first year that we were growing green beans and got invaded by Japanese Beetles – NOT fun!) There are some great organic natural pest deterrents that you can use to keep your garden pest free.
If you are being invaded by hard-shelled insects like beetles, squash bugs, ants, fleas or scorpions, you need to have food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) on hand. DE consists of diatoms which are fossilized algae-like water plants from 30 million years ago. These diatoms created a soft porous sedimentary rock that easily crumbles into a fine white powder. DE has teeny tiny razor-like edges on each particle and they make tiny abrasions on an insect’s insect when they come into contact. An insect’s exoskeleton cannot heal from this and they die from dehydration or a loss of moisture. Spread DE on windowsills, across all entryways and around the entire base of the house. Reapply DE after a good rain as it will wash away and be absorbed into the soil. Even though it is awesome at keeping away unwanted pests, it can be harmful to beneficial insects like bees or ladybugs.
If you are struggling with keeping rabbits or gophers out of your garden, plant gopher purge (also available at most good garden centers and nurseries) and make a plant border. Plant gopher purge every 8-10 inches around the garden, as rodents are not big fans of the smell of this plant. If you have bulbs like tulips and crocus, go ahead and plant gopher purge in those flower beds as well. For an even bigger hit to their sense of smell, plant garlic, onions, and marigolds as well. Rabbits will stay away from garlic and onions, even if you can only grow the chive varieties and can’t grow the bulbs in your area. Planting onion and garlic chives around roses is a tried and true tradition that has been used for hundreds of years to keep rabbits away.
If you are still having trouble keeping pests away you might need to enlist the help of your cat or a neighbor’s cat. Brush the cat and grab as much stray hair as you can and spread them around the outside barrier of the garden. Rabbits and cats tend to not be garden friends and this will work until the rabbits realize that although they might smell the cat there isn’t one giving them chase.
Another great natural pest deterrent involves egg shells. After you crack eggs for your breakfast, put the shells into a plastic Ziploc bag and crush them up. You want to sprinkle them everywhere you don’t want rabbits or deer in your garden When the animal steps on the egg shells it is going to hurt and they won’t want to step there again. If your garden is riddled with egg shells, they will stay out. Plus, the calcium in the shells is a stellar fertilizer for your garden (although you should still be using compost from your compost pile!).
What pests annoy you the most in your garden?
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