Friday, May 28, 2010

Natural Remedies in the Garden

One thing I love about gardening is I feel like I'm spending time with my Grandmothers all over again. Both were frugal and full of knowledge. I spent many summer mornings with Grandma and Granny as they tended to their gardens, learning many natural ways to control pests and boost growth and fruit production. 

Slugs and snails are a big problem around here for any gardener. I remember my grandparents saving egg shells for this. They would rinse them out, crush them flat and let them dry in the sun. When you have a fair amount of them, crumble and sprinkle them around the base of plants. Slugs and snails will not cross this. If they can't reach your plants, they can't eat them!

Most other garden pests can be controlled with a mix of water, dishwashing liquid, and cayenne pepper. I mix about one part dishwashing liquid to three parts water, and a little bit of cayenne pepper. The pepper will clog a lot of sprayers, so I just put it in the watering can and water it over top the plants, covering the leaves and stems as much as possible. It's ugly, but effective. This washes easily off your fruits and veggies and will not harm the plants in moderation.

Bigger critters is where it starts getting tricky. I planted an entire row of sunflowers around my garden. Deer LOVE sunflower leaves, and my best friend has had luck with them stopping there. I planted mine in an area you have to step down into, and deer don't seem to cross over. The end that slopes out to meet the rest of the yard I planted pumpkins, the leaves are a little prickly so I hope they don't like them. Otherwise, I've heard a lot of home remedies can work some. A bar of scented soap like Irish Spring hung in a pair of panty hose can help deter them. It makes sense to me, as hunters do not wash with soap before going out to hunt.

The one I'm really fearing might win the battle is raccoons. We have tons of them out here. The garden I planted this year isn't permanent, so I couldn't justify putting a fence up just yet. Even if I had, they're good climbers. An ammonia soaked rag hanging nearby is supposed to be a good way to get them to avoid the area. Only time will tell with that!

Edited to add: Don't go overboard with the cayenne. A little goes a long way. A lot fries your plants.

No comments:

Post a Comment