June's best tip
June's best tip

Our celebrity gardening judge for the Month of June had a hard time choosing the best tip for controlling pests in the garden the all-natural way.  In fact, her exact words were “they’re all winners”!  But we told her we only had one fabulous OXO prize to give away this month, so she had to narrow it down to just one.

She chose reader Kenn’s tip because it was both “smart and kind”

Kenn wrote:

My biggest issue is rabbits. Cute as they may be, they tend to enjoy the plants I love most. Fencing is ugly, and I’m not about to do anything inhumane.. so I give them something else to munch on.. borders made of lettuce. Throughout the season, I plant a variety of lettuces at the borders edge of my flower garden. They seem to never get further than the border for their feast! They hop off well fed, and I’m happy that there are no destroyed plants.

Congratulations, Kenn!!

Annie also shared with  us some of her own genius tips for controlling pests in the garden.

THE HAND’S ON APPROACH
–Pick bugs off the plant.
–Place paper collars around plant stems.
–Wrap tree trunks in heavy paper such as poster board and then brushwith a sticky substance like honey. The bugs will get stuck.
–Broken eggshells are a deterrent to many bugs who don’t like to walk through them.
–Vacuum bugs off with a vacuum cleaner.

SOAP IT UP

Soap is one of the all-time best folk formulas for a pesticide. It disrupts the insect’s cell membranes, killing the pest through dehydration.

1-2 tablespoons liquid soap
1 gallon water

Combine ingredients in a pan. Transfer 2 cups to a spray bottle. Spray infested areas. Do not use more than 2 tablespoons of soap; too much can kill the leaves.  Note: Detergent will not work, so make sure what you’re using is real soap. Liquid vegetable-oil soap called castile soap sold at health food stores is best.

GARLIC SPRAY


Garlic has amazing pest repellent qualities, keeping many different kinds of insects and other pests that can destroy your favorite plants at bay.

1 head garlic
2 cups boiling water
2 cups room temperature water

Peel and mash the garlic. Place it in a pint mason jar and cover with boiling water. Screw on the lid and let set overnight. Strain. Freeze 1 cup of the infusion to use another time; put the rest in a spray bottle with 1 more cup of water. Spray on infested areas.

Variations
Soapy: Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon liquid soap to the garlic infusion before dividing the batch in two.
Spicy: Combine any of the following in the garlic infusion — scallions and onions, horseradish root, ginger, rhubarb leaves, cayenne and other hot peppers. Add 1 teaspoon liquid soap.
Oniony: Combine an onion and a few hot peppers with the head of garlic in a blender with enough water to cover. Strain. Freeze what you don’t use.

VEGETABLE OIL SPRAY
This is a popular spray for orchards. The oil suffocates insects.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon liquid soap
2 quarts water

Combine ingredients in a pail. Transfer 2 cups to a spray bottle. Spray infected areas.

Don’t forget to submit your best tips for managing weeds in the garden in our Month of July contest.  The next winner could be you!

by Josh and Brent

Reader Comments

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Kate

I use diatomaceous earth, a tip I got from an old veterinarian. It's actually very tiny sea creatures (diatoms) that act like ground glass to soft-bellied larvae. Make sure not to be downwind and inhale it. Shake it all over the leaves and the ground around the base of the plant to kill anything that wriggles. Then just wash the produce when you bring it in.

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Martin J. Stab, Sr.

For effective weed control I spread ordinary table salt where I don’t them to grow. In just a day or two the weeds are dead.
You must be careful not to get the salt too close to the plants.

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Mark Stanow

Busted up sea shells around your plants works great to keep bugs at bay.

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