Five Ways to Deter Garden Pests!


shannon-veg-gardenSummer’s here and your garden’s in full swing. And so are those pesky garden pests, working overtime to make a mockery of all your hard work. Today we discuss 5 safe and natural ways to keep those pests at bay.

1. Hot sauce and dish detergent

Would you enjoy a soapy hot sauce dressing with your veggies? Well, neither would the mammals—deer, woodchuck, groundhogs—who’ve been hanging around your garden. Mix one tablespoon of liquid detergent and a half bottle of hot sauce in a watering can, add water, and apply to your plants’ leaves. Reapply after heavy rain or storms.

2. Crushed Eggshells

Painless to you or me, crushed eggshells are like razors to caterpillars, slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied invaders. Rim your favorite plants with a couple handfuls of these guys, and you’ll be breathing easier and sleeping better. And as an added benefit, eggshells are rich in calcium and make an ‘egg’cellent fertilizer!

3. Beneficial Bugs

It’s a bug-eat-bug world out there, and you need a few good bugs to keep the bad bugs at bay. By planting a few well-known vegetables/flowers, you  can be sure to recruit a whole bunch of these good bugs.  Tomato plants protect cabbage plants against diamond back cabbage moth invasion. Nasturtium repels cucumber beetles from cucumbers. Sweet alyssum attracts bugs that help protect potatoes; dwarf zinnias do the same for cauliflower. And birds eat bugs of all stripes, so keep a bird bath/feeder nearby!

images4. Fencing

Good fences make good neighbors, especially if your neighbors are rabbits, deer, or groundhog! Make sure your fence is at least 1 foot deep and 5 foot high—ground hogs can dig deep, and deer can jump high! Adding a layer of beveling around the top of your fence provides an added assurance against groundhogs, who are renowned climbers!


5. Traps

Every pest has a weakness. A dishful of beer is irresistible to a slug—they’ll dive in and drown.  A yellow bowl filled with water will attract and drown flea beetles. And so on. By placing these traps around the edge of your garden, pests will be drawn out; not in.

By |July 17th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Five Ways to Deter Garden Pests!

A Few Good Bugs

garlic_hydrangea2_thrillers_fallowfield 004 It’s high summer and your garden is struggling—again. Your tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers have succumbed to beetles, cutworms, aphids, and slugs. You refuse to use pesticides (you’re a good person and you care about the environment) and you just don’t have time to pick these pests off one by one. You’re ready to toss in the towel.

What you need are a few good bugs. Bugs who will fight for you and your garden. Bugs who eat beetles and cutworms for breakfast.

Today we look at five such bugs, and examine what steps you can take to ensure their propagation, year after year, season after season.

1.  Lady Bugs


Beauteous though they may be, these little beetles pack a mean punch. A mature lady bug can consume as many as 50 aphids a day! They’ll also make a meal of small caterpillars, mites, and insect eggs. Pollen and nectar are also staples of the lady bug diet, so be sure to grow a broad diversity of plants. A particular favorite are early-blooming mustard flowers. Lady bugs can also be bought online for release in your garden.

2. Lacewings


Known for their long, lacelike wings and light-green/brown bodies, lacewings are highly effective garden warriors. In their larval stage especially, they are devourers of aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs, leafhoppers, and whiteflies. To attract lacewings, grow a variety of plants, spraying aphid-infested areas with a light sugar-water solution. You can also buy them—just make sure you have plenty of food, or they’ll be forced to go somewhere else to find it.

3. Assassin Bug


The name says it all. These stealthy predators range in size from small to super small and are known to use disguises, trickery, and outright brute force to defend your garden. They’re particularly fond of caterpillars and beetles, but in a pinch will eat pretty much anything: ants, fleas, grubs, weevils, wireworms and more. You’ll have better luck attracting assassin bugs if you plant Tagetes or a cover crop, and provide plenty of compost, mulch, and biodiversity.

4. Soldier Bug

spined soldier bug durham 61805

If full-scale garden protection is your goal, look no further than the mighty soldier bug. Favorite foods include beetles, cabbage loopers, diamondback moths, army worms, and caterpillars. Planting lots of blooming herbs, singled-flowered marigolds, daisies, and goldenrods will help establish a solid battalion of soldier bugs. If you’re having trouble attracting them, Planet Natural offers them online.

5. Parasitic Wasp.

Parasitic Wasp

Don’t worry—they don’t like humans. But they LOVE caterpillars, beetles, flies, scales, and aphids. Adults females lay their eggs within the bodies of garden pests, helping to keep their populations in check. But parasitic wasps also require nectar and pollen for energy. Flowering angelica, chervil, fennel, dill, and cilantro are a few of their favorites. Keeping overwintering plants like Queen Anne’s lace, yarrow, or comfrey, improves your chances of seeing these beneficials in the spring.

By |May 20th, 2014|News|Comments Off on A Few Good Bugs