Invitations to my scrumptious garden buffet go out early to every bug and animal in town. Now, if I could just figure out who is the pest party coordinator I could save myself some headaches. Alas, I have yet to track him or her down. Over the years, I have tried a variety of methods to thwart the destruction of my garden. Some have failed while others have worked quite well. If pests are bugging you, then here are some solutions to keep them at bay.
#1–A Blast of Water
Sometimes, a blast of with water gets rids of pests like whiteflies and aphids. However, you have to become a water blasting pro when it comes to dealing with whiteflies. They are so hard to get rid of. Be diligent when using this method.
My quince was covered with whiteflies and the blast of water knocked them off the plant.
Each plant is different as to whether the water method will work. In the past, I have tried blasting my kale and collard green to remove whiteflies, but it didn’t work as well. I think the kale and collard green leaves are so much larger than my quince’s leaves, which made it harder to knock off the pests.
Repeat that blast of water every day until you are aphids free.
#2–Hand Picking and Destroying Eggs
The best time of the day for hunting pests is early morning. The pests haven’t had their coffee yet.
Do a leaf check every day. Simply turn over the bottom of the leaves looking for egg clusters. If you find them you can either use tape to remove them or crush them with your fingers. I have tore the leaf sometime and thrown in a soap water bucket.
I know this sounds gross, but sometimes it is the only way to get rid of pest is hand-picking. I hand-picked Mexican bean beetles and its larvae the whole last season. This year, I only found 7 beetles so far. (*Finger-crossed.*) Last year, I killed 100s.
I am not exaggerating.
Okay, I killed 500 but who was counting?
I also hand pick cabbage worms and other beetles. My secret weapon is a soapy bucket of water that I carry from plant to plant.
*Hint* Keep it covered when not in use since a friendly bug may land in it.
#3– Row Covers
I use row covers especially when I am planting seeds. If I don’t use them, then some bird will take my seeds. I have found some of my plants sprouting yards away from their original location. You can use them also to cover your plants during the season.
Although, I buy summer weight covers, they tear easily, so be gentle with them. (I buy them HERE.) The summer weight allows for the most light transmission. Also, secure them well such as cover the ends with dirt since moths and beetles can get under the covers.
I use a four foot wooden stake and lay it on its side on top of the ends of the covers. Then I put 2 big rocks on the stake to keep the ends down. Alternatively, you can use rocks to keep it down.
In addition, I use tulle so that I can see the plants. Summer weight row covers are still opaque so I can’t monitor what is going on under the fabric I purchase the tulle at Joann Fabric.
Note–Tulle tears really really easily so handle with care.
Don’t rely simply on the covers or the tulle. Check every day how your plants are doing.
#4 –Homemade Bug Repellent Spray
Sometimes you have to be proactive in the garden. Moths are sneaky creatures. Plus, sometimes it isn’t a bug that is chewing on your plants. It could be a chipmunk, rabbit, or other animal.
See Here for the recipe to use to deter pests.
Only spray when the temperature is below 90 degrees. I spray early in the morning and every couple of days especially if it rains.
#5 Build a Raised Bed Cover
I recently built a raised bed cover since I was so tired of the moths attacking my kale, broccoli, and cabbage. I am still working on the bed covers for my 8 by 4 foot beds but my covers were based on this illustration. (Post to follow. Stay tuned.)
Homemade NonToxic Bug Spray
If the above options don’t work for you, it is time to go to the next level–a non-toxic bug spray. Although the spray isn’t toxic, it can hurt beneficial pests. Here is my trusty bug spray recipe. Be sure to read which plant are sensitive to this spray.
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