If you have a garden, then you know the joys of picking your own tomatoes, cutting up onions for dinner that you grew yourself, and sharing your garden’s produce with your friends. It really is a beautiful thing. But for every happy moment in your garden, there is a small “war” being waged there as well.
There are dozens of small animals, and thousands (or more) little insects trying to eat, destroy, and steal your hard work from you. So how can you successfully win this “war” while also keeping a balance with nature in your garden? Here are a few tips that can help you in your garden.
1) Small Animals – Rabbits, Chipmunks, & The Like
Small animals are usually the first thing that come to mind when we think of garden pests. Rabbits being one of the primary ones. So what can you do to keep them out? The obvious thing is a fence or barrier. This would naturally be your first line of defense. But be sure to choose the proper fencing. For instance, standard garden fence may work for larger rabbits, but smaller ones can still get through. Chicken wire is usually one of the better options – but consider using a fence with an even smaller opening, or doubling up on the chicken wire, as chipmunks can still get through the openings in chicken wire (hard to believe, but they can).
After you have done that, you can also alternatively use some garden sprays to make things less appealing to small animals. A homemade pepper spray or soapy water spray may not work perfectly but can help as a general deterrent. Be sure to wear proper gloves, eye protection, etc while spraying it though.
Birds are a tough one. If you grow any type of fruit, they love to swoop in and either eat all your small berries or basically destroy your larger fruit so that it is inedible. When it comes to birds – putting a fence over the top of your garden really isn’t practical, so netting is usually your best friend. Once your fruit (i.e. grapes, plums, apples, or whatever it happens to be) is anywhere near ready, take a light garden net and throw it over the fruit and stake it down. That will keep the majority of the birds off, but still allow the sun in on the fruit.
3) Bugs, Slugs, & Snails
OK – here are the real culprits. Any one of these pests can decimate your garden in short order, and are very difficult to treat. But before you reach for those harmful chemicals to spray on the food you eat, consider these few remedies first:
- Beer. Yep, that’s right. Beer not only works as a refreshing beverage, but also as a great treatment for slugs and snails. Try buying some cheap beer and pouring it into very shallow pans and leaving them in your garden. It attracts snails and slugs – then they climb into the beer and drown.
- Diatomaceous earth. This is very effective at keeping bugs away without affecting your food. This basic powder (which you can buy at almost any garden store) is harmless to humans, but kills slugs, snails, and bugs. Just spread it in your garden and watch it work.
- Essential Oils. Not just for spraying your pillow to help you sleep anymore. Plants often create these oils as a defense against bugs, so if you have access to essential oils, you can spray this in your garden. Just be sure to choose the correct oil for the pest you are treating though.
Win The Battle – & the War
With a few of these tips and tricks, you can win your war to keep your garden as a haven for you and your family, and not a breeding ground for pests that want to destroy it.