Tuesday, June 15, 2010

~ Natural Pest Control For the Garden ~

We've been busy the last two weeks getting the gardens planted and trying to keep the critters away. I try to use natural methods to critter proof , sometimes you have to get creative. I was slack with the broccoli and cabbage , the worms almost destroyed the crop. About the time the plants took growth , we started having rain everyday for about a week and the cabbage worms started munching away. I finally made a powder that consisted of plain flour , crushed red pepper and ground cayenne pepper. I sprinkled it on the plants , it took a couple of days before I saw results , during that time I was handpicking worms and feeding them to the chickens each morning. The flour mixture works well , but you have to reapply after each rain , that's why I was so slack about adding it during that rainy week. I'm happy to report , the broccoli and cabbage are starting to head and I see no signs of worms .

The major garden problem around here are deer , we've found the best way to keep them at bay is to add new attractions to the garden often. I hang anything that shines , paper or plastic bags , banners , flags , milk jugs , tin pans , anything that makes noise. Scarecrows help , but deer get use to seeing them and eventually make their way to the garden. I have found that spraying the scarecrow with some kind of body spray , perfume or soap scents often work well. You could use essential oils or urine if you want to be totally organic. My Dad practiced the urine method , he would urinate in buckets and sit them on each end of the corn rows , it worked but you have to add fresh urine often.

The birds and crows don't like snakes , so I add plastic pipe or cords that look like snakes to keep them away from the newly planted seeds. In the photo above I planted a small patch of sunflower seeds , the tomato cages add a barrier , the bags add color and sound to keep the deer away and the plastic pipe keeps the birds away.

Another method I learned from my Grandma was to cut blackberry brambles and lay over your freshly planted seedlings , I have used that method for small garden beds. The picture above shows a small bed of lettuce with brambles laying over the bed. This method keeps cats and dogs from bedding down in your freshly planted garden beds or using the bed as a litter box.

Oh , and those horrid Japanese beetles , they're a real pest. I have used the beetle traps in the past , they work pretty well , but I didn't like putting them in the trash to go to the landfill. I have also used plastic yellow plates that I place under the plants and fill with soapy water to get rid of them. The beetles are attracted to the bright colored plates , fall in the water and drown. It takes alot of plates for our garden and you still have to dispose of them ( Yuck ). The best Japanese beetle control has been the guinea fowl , they love them. They'll walk down the garden rows picking them off the plants and disposing of them naturally. The guineas don't scratch like chickens , so they rarely cause a problem in the garden. They just wander through and pick off the bugs. The downside of the guinea fowl are the noise and their wandering ways. I've noticed in the Fall and Winter they have a tendency to wander further away from the homestead , we've had several that got ran over on the road because of this. But in the Spring and Summer while they are laying , they stay close to the nesting area. They always nest near their roosting area which is near the garden area , so it works out well for pest control during garden season.

I tried putting frog/toad huts in the garden to attract frogs and toads to help with bug control. But , the only thing I attracted were Black Widow spiders and although spiders help with bug control , I wasn't fond of having the poisonous ones hanging out in the garden , so I stopped doing that. Has anyone else had success with the frog/toad huts or are they primarily for decoration?

So these are a few of the things we do for pest control. I would love to hear from all you gardeners any other tips that work to keep pest under control naturally.

~ Garden Blessings ~



Lib said...

Love this post!Thanks for all the info! Sure wish I could find a way to get rid of racoons! We have 6 or 8 that comes thru daily !
Have a great wk.

Piecefulafternoon said...

I've found that the toads like their toad huts to be in shady, cool places - they will venture out from there and get the bugs - but they didn't seem to like hot houses - at least the toads in our yard didn't.

Peggy said...

Thanks for the info on bug control! I am going to mix up some flour and pepper tomorrow. My broccoli looks terrible!

JoyceAnn said...

Hi Lib ~ We haven't had any problems with raccoons , but I would think that the bags and noise makers would work with them the same as the deer. Hope your week is great too.

Hi JoAnn ~ That makes sense , maybe I'll put them in the shade , near my herb garden. Thanks for the tip.

Hi Peggy ~ Glad I could help , hope all is well over at Hidden Haven. I'll be by to visit today.

~ Happy Gardening Blessings ~

Vickie LeBlanc said...

Thanks for all this info JoyceAnn. We don't have any deer problems yet. Although we know of 2 that are living in the pasture behind our home but they don't bother our gardens... YET !!!!! Although the man that owns a huge apple orchard close to us has big deer problems. He showed us how he keeps them at bay. He hangs soap bars from the apple trees here and there in the orchard. He uses those almost used up soap bars that we put in the trash most of the time. You can also use new bars also. All you do is put a piece of string around it and hang it from the branches. Now he sees the deers in a distance but they don't come near the apple orchard. You might want to try this for your deers.

JoyceAnn said...

Hi Vickie ~ Thanks for the tip , I have used soap before , although I probably didn't use enough. I think I'll try a different method this time , going to hang some and put some in small containers , so that when it rains it'll lather and have strong scents.We have several deer that stay in our wooded area behind the garden , they come across the garden to get to the red clover. But they love young okra and greenbeans. So if they find it growing , it's chow time (LOL).

~ Be Blessed ~

雅信 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vickie LeBlanc said...

I checked with the apple farmer and he said the soap had to be used; for the human scent I guess.

JoyceAnn said...

Thanks Vickie !!

Jeanne said...

What a wealth of info! Never thought of the flour mix. I have used corn starch mixed with cayenne pepper though.

And yes, my toads like cool, shady areas of the garden as well. Preferably some place with a fair amount of leaf litter on the ground.

I have heard about bars of soap being used to scare off deer. Also small bags filled with the hair from a person's hair brush tied to the fence around the garden. Have never had a problem with deer so I can't really say if the sacks of hair work...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful garden! :0)

frugalgravy said...

Very cool post!