Garden pests chomping on your fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies can be a real bummer. But, what can you do, right? Plenty! Good news: There are several natural products you can try to help stop pests from eating through your garden without the use of chemical pesticides.
For example, have you tried an herbal ant-repellent spray? How about a garlic and chile insecticidal spray? The Herb Companion magazine has recipes for both posted online for you to try as part of "What’s Wrong with My Herbs: Natural Pesticides for Gardens" by Susan Belsinger and Tina Marie Wilcox.
>>How do you naturally keep garden pests at bay? Post a comment and share your tried and tested techniques for a maintaining a healthy garden.
According to Belsinger and Wilcox: Once "you’ve determined that a pest has taken up residence among your plants, you can take actions to stop it. Begin with the least toxic, least expensive and most convenient method first: a strong spray of water.
"You’ll need an adjustable nozzle turned to the fan setting. This will allow you to direct a wedge of water over a large plant surface. Adjust the pressure so the water will wash away pests without damaging the plant. Spray the entire plant, side to side and top to bottom—as well as the top and bottom of leaves—until the plant is completely clean.
"[...] Besides using these water baths to stop pests, we also use a homemade garlic-chile-soap spray, neem oil and horticultural oil, alternating among them monthly, if necessary, to keep pests off-balance."
Belsinger and Wilcox's Herb and Soap Ant-Repellent Spray
- 1/2 cup fresh tansy leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh santolina leaves
- 1 quart boiled water
- 1 tablespoon Murphy Oil Soap
- 10 drops vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) essential oil
1. Add herbs to boiled water, cover and steep until infusion is cool.
2. Strain out herbs. Stir in soap and vetiver oil.
3. Before use, shake mixture well, then filter it into a sprayer. Use Herb and Soap Ant-Repellent Spray on ant trails, counters, soil surfaces or wherever ants are a problem.
>>Click "comment" and share your tried and tested techniques for a maintaining a healthy garden! We look forward to reading your garden tips!
 Belsinger, S. & Wilcox, TM. (2008). What’s Wrong with My Herbs: Natural Pesticides for Gardens. The Herb Companion. Retrieved online at: http://www.herbcompanion.com/gardening/defend-your-garden-with-herbs.aspx?page=3
 Belsinger, S. & Wilcox, TM. (2008). Natural Pesticides: Herb and Soap Ant-Repellent Spray. The Herb Companion. Retrieved online at: http://www.herbcompanion.com/2008-6/ant-repellent-herb-soap-spray.aspx