I had a relatively quick growing season this year since I wasn’t able to plan for the late summer season. Those who have been following me know that my dog is one of my garden pests since he likes to lay in the garden beds and eat the veggies! Anyway, there are actually many garden pests that can hamper your growing. I’m here today to give you some tidbits about these pests and the best way to go about handling them.
I will share a list of some of the pests that I encountered this year and some tools and remedies you can use! I like using natural products, so the remedies I share will be all natural and safe for people and pets. However, you do you and feel free to pull in the big guns with store bought sprays. There are many, many more than what I will mention (it really depends on where you’re located, so please do your research!
- Dogs – Just fence in your garden or keep you dog away from it. That’s all I’ve got to say about that…
- Bunnies/Squirrels – Again, fence in your garden or cover your plants with cages or mess. There are inexpensive cages and mess pouches for sale that you can reuse over and over each season. You could also try to DIY some veggie protection.
- Horn Worm – Horn worms are the caterpillar of a type of moth. They LOVE tomatoes! I found a big one this year on my tomatillos. Luckily, I have a Leopard Gecko that just loves Horn Worms, so he had a feast!
- Aphids – These little things will get all over your plants. They will get on just about anything and just take over – quickly! Order some ladybugs and you’ll be set! Ladybugs will devour the Aphids, but not your plants – win, win!!
- Grubs – These gross, white worm like things you find in the ground. They love to eat the roots of plants and will kill your plants from the root if they take over. This is especially true for the in-ground gardens.
- Cabbage Worms – These are tiny little green worms that are the caterpillar of a moth. They will completely take over and eat all your cabbages within days if they are allowed. I found some on my last cabbage (before the dog ate it) and they were gross. I am getting itchy again just at the thought of them. Bleh!
- Grasshopper – They will eat anything, and once one finds your yummy garden, more and more will come! Birds are the best way to protect your garden from grasshoppers. Put in some bird feeders near the garden. Not only will you get to watch beautiful birds, but they will also eat the bugs and grasshoppers!
- Stink Bug – These are nasty! They will eat just about anything and if you smash them, they will smell! Spray them with soapy water or knock them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. This also goes for if they find their way into your house!
- Slugs/Snails – Slugs will eat anything. I always found them in the nooks of the cabbage plants before my dog ate them. I’m only a little bitter, can you tell?? A good sprinkling of DE will take care of them quickly!
- Ants – If given the opportunity, ants will set up colonies in the soil and container pots. They can establish colonies of thousands of ants that will use your garden as food and protection. Towards the end of the season, I found an ant colony under my tomatillos, and they were everywhere!! The ants were forming little structures on the plant itself and using it as a means of easy bridge transportation.
Remedy 1: Diatomachious Earth (DE)
I love this stuff!! Diatomachious Earth is a natural product that comes from Diatoms that have died, decayed, and hardened. This stuff is a white powder and feels similar to powdered sugar to humans, but not to insects. On a microscopic level, Diatomachious Earth is rough and has jagged edges. The hard edges will rip up the insects and kill them. Even though DE is natural, make sure you get the food grade kind so that you know it’s safe for people and pets. Sprinkle DE all over your flowering plants. If you put DE on flowering plant you won’t get the bees you oh so need to help pollinate your plants. You can put DE all over the base of all plants and all over the soil. Any plant that is nonflowering, cover them with DE!
Remedy 2: Spicy Spray
I use this recipe: 2 garlic cloves, 2 cups mint leaves, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon dish soap (I suggest Dawn), and 10 cups water. Put everything solid (garlic, mint, pepper) in a food processor or blender and let it go until it is a paste. In a bowl, put the water, soap, and food paste. Whisk it all together. Pour the mix into a squirt bottle and spray all over your plants. This lasts no more than a week, so you’ll need to make more and adjust the recipe for smaller or larger batches.
Remedy 3: Soapy Water
Literally mix together some dish soap and warm water. Mix it and shake it all up so it’s good and soapy. This will kill Stink Bugs, but it’ll also make the plants slippery and hard to walk on for insects. This is good as a quick defense, but it’s not a long term solution.