Wednesday, June 30, 2021

How to Use Natural Insect Repellent for Gardens

Learn how to use natural pest repellent for garden.  These simple things will keep several types of bugs out of your garden so they don't turn your garden into an all you can eat buffet.  You can repel bugs naturally by using companion planting and other natural ingredients for a natural pest repellent.  I also have some suggestions for natural insect repellent for garden to purchase.

When we were looking at the farm, one thing that we were thrilled to learn was that the previous owner didn't use any chemicals.  

Considering there was a large garden plot, an orchard, and several smaller crops of random things growing, this was a big deal.

He owned the farm for about 15 years, so we knew for at least 15 years there were no chemicals.

Then we started gardening on a larger scale and quickly learned that between weeds and pests, we had a lot of work ahead of us.

Not only do we have little insects, but we also have geese, deer, rabbits, and other critters that like to turn the garden into a buffet.

How to Use Natural Insect Repellent for Gardens

Luckily, we don't have a big problem with bugs.  We mainly get beetles, but that's about the extent of it.  

However, we know that bugs can quickly destroy a garden if you don't take action.  Learn about natural pest repellent for garden to get rid of bugs before they become a problem.

Also check out how to get rid of weeds in vegetable garden naturally.

How Do I Get Rid of Bugs in my Garden Naturally?

There are several ways to use natural bug repellent for garden.  First, you can use companion planting.  This is when you plant certain plants in your garden to repel bugs and even small animals.

You can also use food items like egg shells and vinegar as a natural pest repellent.

Do Coffee Grounds Keep Bugs Away?

Yes, coffee grounds are a good natural pest repellent.  They can repel mosquitoes, bees, and wasps.  However, you do want to attract bees to your garden for pollination.

Does Vinegar Kill Bugs on Plants?

Yes, dilute vinegar 1:1 with water.  It makes a natural bug spray for gardens.  However, it will also harm your plants.

If you use vinegar water, avoid spraying directly on your plants, including the leaves.

Can I Spray Apple Cider Vinegar on my Plants?

Yes, you can spray a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water to make a natural bug repellent for garden.  

This will work for aphids and some other bugs.  However, like white vinegar, it can kill plants.  Be careful not to spray it directly on your plants.

Learn how to make apple cider vinegar at home.

Will Dish Soap Kill Plants?

Using dish soap as a natural pesticide for garden is controversial.  Dish soap can kill some bugs, but it can also kill good bugs in your garden.

Dish soaps work because the surfactants break down grease and oil so dirt can be washed away.  If you spray dish soap on a plant, it can remove the outer waxy coating.

If the plant loses its outer layer, it can be susceptible to microbes.  The wax also helps the plan trap moisture.

However, liquid castile soap is milder.  It's a natural soap that isn't a detergent, so it won't harm the outer waxy coating on your plants.  

You can also learn how to make a soap nut liquid concentrate and spray that on plants.

Companion Planting for Natural Pest Repellent

There are several plants that you can plant in or around your garden as a natural insect repellent for garden.  

Chives repels insects and even rabbits.  They are also tasty and a good crop to grow for summer salads.

Bay leaf is often used in soups, but its strong odor is a good natural bug repellent on plants.  You don't even need to plant bay leaf; you can simply sprinkle leaves from the grocery store around your garden.  

Catnip is a good natural pest repellent for garden for mosquitoes.  However, it can quickly spread and take over your garden.  It can also attract cats to your garden if you live in an area with a lot of feral cats.

Marigolds are often grown around the perimeter of the garden.  They can repel bugs, rabbits, and deer.

Other Natural Insect Repellents for Garden

Sprays are great natural pest repellents, but there are other things that you use to keep bugs and animals away.

Spread crushed eggshells throughout your garden.  Slugs can't slither across the rough edges, so they won't bother.  It can also repel small bugs that can eat your plants.

Eggshells can harm the good bugs, so only use them when you see bugs.  

Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that won't harm people, but it can kill small bugs.  It works because it has small sharp edges that can slice through small bugs to kill them.

It's harmless for animals and people; however, it can cause damage if you breathe it in.  It's best to keep it away from small children and wash your hands after using it.  You may want to cover your face while using it in the garden.

What Can I Spray on my Vegetable Garden to Kill Bugs?

There are several things you can use as a natural bug spray for gardens.   Let's look at each natural bug repellent for garden and its pros and cons.

Soap and Water 

To make a natural bug spray for gardens with soap and water, use 5 tablespoons liquid castile soap and 4 cups of water.  Spray on plants.  This will dehydrate spider mites and aphids. 

I recommend using liquid castile soap and not dish soap.  However, you can use dish soap and use it sparingly.  Be sure to spray on the ground around the plants and not on the plants themselves.

If you'd rather buy a spray, I like this organic insect killing concentrate.  Be sure to dilute it properly or it can harm your plants.

Neem Oil

Neem oil works by smothering soft bodied insects.  It's an excellent natural pesticide for garden.  It can kill the larvae of good insects, so don't use it too often.  

When shopping, look for 100 percent cold pressed neem oil.  There are some blends that aren't as effective.

Pyrethrum Spray

Pyrethrum is naturally derived from the chrysanthemum flower.  It's organic, but it doesn't discriminate between good and bad bugs as a natural pesticide for garden.  This should be used after you've exhausted your other options.

While you can make your own pyrethrum spray for a natural insect repellent for garden, it's a messy and cumbersome process.  You can buy a pyrethrum concentrate to use instead.

Garlic Spray

Garlic has a strong odor that works as a natural bug repellent for garden.  To make a spray, place two whole bulbs of garlic and process them in a food processor with a little bit of water.  Let this mixture sit overnight and then strain.

Reserve the liquid and add water to fill a quart jar.  You can also add 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of liquid castile soap if you want.  Spray on infested plants.  

Personally, I just use the garlic infused water and skip the soap if I'm spraying directly on the plants.

Pepper Spray

Like garlic, peppers make an effective natural insect repellent for garden.  You can make it from hot peppers from your garden or chili pepper powder.  

Simply combine 1 tablespoon of chili powder and 1 quart of water.  Add a few drops of liquid castile soap if desired.  

To use fresh peppers, blend 1/2 cup of peppers and 1 cup of water.  Add to a quart of water and boil.  Then remove from heat and let cool completely.  Strain out the peppers.  Add a few drops of liquid castile soap and spray on your plants.

I don't use a pepper spray as a natural pest repellent.  The oils really bother me, and it never fails that I find small holes in my gloves.  

If you have children or pets, be very careful about using this natural pest repellent for garden and make sure that neither one enters the garden where they could touch the spray.

Herbal Waters

Herbs with a strong smell like basil, thyme, catnip, and sage can make a great natural bug spray for gardens.  To make an easy herbal water natural insect repellent for garden, simply boil 2 cups of water and add a handful of fresh or dried herbs.  

Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.  Cover the pot so you don't lose water and let it cool completely.  Then strain out the herbs and pour the herbal water into a spray bottle.

Since this doesn't have a preservative, it's best to store it in the fridge.   Spray as a natural bug repellent on plants as needed.  

You can also make a natural homemade bug repellent spray with essential oils to use on indoor or outdoor plants.

I have a gardening planner available.  It has several pages for you to plan your garden and then keep notes to reference year after year.

Also check out the best way to water your vegetable garden to keep your plants healthy.

Have you tried any of these natural insect repellents for your garden?

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