Nothing is more discouraging than working hard to plant a garden and to care for your seedlings only to discover uninvited guests. You spent hours starting seeds inside to give them a good head start before transplanting them carefully in the garden. Then, one day you walk into your backyard to catch the backend of a deer that has just helped itself to your vegetables. Maybe the scenario involves a squirrel or bugs, but the results are the same. Your garden has been wiped out by pests. Keep reading for tips on how to free your yard and garden from these invaders.
Establishing a perimeter is your best protection against deer, rabbits and rodents. It might not be the most pleasing aesthetic to put a fence around your garden plot, but an enclosure could be the best solution to protect your carrots and cabbages. Rabbits and deer have very sensitive noses and they will avoid strong unfamiliar scents. You can use this inside information against the enemy without actually harming them. If you plant strong-smelling herbs such as lavender, rosemary and garlic beside your garden, it discourages critters from delving into your tender vegetables and flowers. When you are choosing what plants to include in your garden, remember that deer don’t like prickly leaves or thorny bushes.
If your visitors have six or more legs instead of two, you will need a different strategy. Insects like aphids, caterpillars, grasshoppers, Japanese beetles can be a problem, but there is a natural solution. Releasing live ladybugs into the plot will cut back on pest dramatically since the dainty polka dot bugs are voracious eaters who prey on those pesky pests. As in the case of the lady bug beetle, no all creepy crawlies are bad for your plants. For example, without bees, squash, apples, broccoli and many other crops cannot thrive. Some insects eat other bugs instead of your tomatoes. Another deterrent is to spray all-natural pesticides that are geared to kill the bad bugs but not the good ones. Check your pesticide to ensure it only contains organic ingredients to protect bees and other useful insects.
Don’t be squeamish when it comes to getting rid of bugs. Caterpillars and other larger insects can be picked off plants if they are present in small numbers. Put on some gloves and don’t think about it too much, and you will get used to handling them before you know it. Plus, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you conquered the fear factor to defend your garden. Unfortunately, you will have to also remove and discard infested plants to contain the problem. Make sure these don’t end up in the compost pile, since that won’t remove the pests for long.
If you are the do-it-yourself type, try making homemade pesticides using salt or garlic spray, mineral oil and any other ingredients that are noxious to bugs but harmless to your growing plants. You can feel good about protecting the environment by avoiding harmful chemical pesticides that can contaminate your soil and harvested vegetables. Natural insecticides along with organic pesticides ward off pests while safeguarding the health of your plants.