How to Protect your garden from pests

Published on February 18, 2014 By Lauren

The last thing any home gardener wants to find on their plants is bugs, so it is important to figure out how to protect your garden from pests. Who want to go through all the trouble of growing your own food and then spraying with all sorts of chemicals? Thankfully there are many safe alternatives that will kill the pests that plague your home garden.

Here are some of my favorite ways:

Diatomaceous Earth:

Diatomaceous Earth is diatoms (hard shelled algae) and sedimentary rock that have been crushed into a fine powder. It truly is a garden wonder! It’s often referred to as DE, and is harmless to me and you, but to garden pests it’s deadly. Diatomaceous Earth works by being caught between the exoskeleton of insects it then scratches their exoskeleton and when those insects move, the DE acts like little knives and basically cuts the insects into bits—or they dehydrate and die.

Strawberry Plant Dusted with DE

To use diatomaceous earth, all you have to do is sprinkle it directly on the soil and around your plants. It must come in contact with the pest to be effective and it will need to be kept dry. Once it gets wet, it won’t be able to make good contact with the insect. If it happens to rain shortly after dusting with DE, just reapply.

Many hardware and garden supply stores stock diatomaceous earth, just make sure that you purchase the food grade kind. You can also find it on Amazon here. The other varieties aren’t safe for your garden.

Insecticidal Soap:

If you’ve been doing everything right and your plants are not producing as well as you think they should be (or putting off small, misshapen fruits) or the leaves are yellowing despite your best efforts to give them ample fertilizer, then your plants may be under attack.

Homemade insecticidal soap is effective against pests such as aphids, thrips and whiteflies, which are well known garden pests.

 

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Basic Insecticidal Soap Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • ¼ bar of Fels Naptha Bar Soap
  • 1 quart very hot water

Directions:

  • Grate the Fels Naptha Soap using either a food processor or a grater.
  • Stir the grated soap into the hot water, until it is dissolved completely.
  • Store in an airtight container.

When you’re ready to use your homemade insecticidal soap, mix one teaspoon mix with one quart of water in a spray bottle.

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Spray directly on any bugs and on the leaves of the infested plants.

Since this is a potent mixture, be sure to do a spray check and spray on only one leaf and check back for leaf burn. If this mixture burns your leaves, dilute it again by adding in 2 more cups of water. This way you won’t destroy an entire crop! Also, do not use this during extreme hot weather.

I hope this helps you get rid of some of those pests in your garden, without harming your crops!

Here are more garden related posts:

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