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Natural alternatives to garden pesticides and weed killers
There’s nothing more satisfying than pulling back the shutters and admiring the beautiful garden you’ve been working so hard to create. You go outside to get a closer look only to be horrified to discover that some pesky insects have made a meal of your favourite plants or those stubborn weeds have cropped up again.
Unfortunately, both occurrences are inevitable in almost any garden. The good news however is that a quick spritz of pesticide or weed killer will see your garden return to its former glory in no time. What’s more, with these natural remedies you don’t have to worry about the dangers of nasty chemicals to your children and pets as well as to your own health.
Chances are that you can magic up this concoction with products you already have around the home.
Simply mix one cup of vegetable oil with one tablespoon of natural mild soap. When you’re ready to apply, add two teaspoons of the oil mixture with one quart (just over a litre) of water. Shake thoroughly and then spray directly onto the surfaces of any plants which are being eaten by the likes of aphids, mites and thrips.
Garlic doesn’t just scare vampires away; it also keeps bugs at bay. Mix two whole bulbs (not just cloves) and puree them in a blender with about a litre of water. Let the mixture sit overnight and then strain it. After you’ve done this, add half a cup of vegetable oil (optional) and one teaspoon of mild liquid soap to your existing mixture.
Spray liberally onto infested plants. Garlic is an insect repellent so the strong smell with force them away.
There are a number of everyday household items which are great at keeping bugs and insects away from your plants:
• Aluminium foil scares away aphids
• Cinnamon, coffee and paprika repels ants
• Catnip will keep cockroaches away (but may attract the neighbours’ cat)
• Japanese beetles don’t like chives
• Mint, pine needles, sage, parsley and bizarrely, human hair will keep slugs away
If you want to prevent weeds sprouting in the first place, consider putting down landscape fabric topped with a layer or mulch or straw. The physical barrier will stop weeds from being able to grow and wreaking havoc in your beautiful garden.
A highly effective yet incredibly simple weed killer is boiling tap water. Simply pour it on any cracks in paving or on your driveway and it will immediately kill any weeds. Adding a tablespoon of salt to the boiling water makes it even more effective.
Who would have thought that newspaper could be a gardener’s best friend? Cover low-growing weeds such as clover and crabgrass with newspaper. Eventually, the lack of sunlight will kill them and as an added bonus, once the paper decomposes it also feeds the soil.
Have a think about the plants you have in your garden and whether or not you can get a bit creative with your planting technique. Did you know that certain flowers and the way they’re planted can help destroy weeds? You can find out more by visiting this website: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/fgen/planting-flowers-to-deter-weeds.htm
Finally, if you happen to have a goat nearby, they’ll happily eat the weeds for you. They can reach areas that people and machinery can’t and their hooves also rototill the soil as they graze.
For some more natural ways to protect your garden, the PETA website share techniques which won’t cause harm to any animals: https://www.peta.org/living/humane-home/natural-harmless-alternatives-garden-pesticides/