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5 Secret Weapons Against Garden Critters

Nothing ruins springtime like garden critters killing your plants.

Don’t let pests ruin all the hard work you’ve put into your yard. You need to know the secret to keep these nuisances away.

Today we’ll highlight the safest way to protect your plants. 

Let’s get gardening! 

Common Harmful Garden Critters

If you’ve had bad luck with garden critters in the past, you might’ve heard of some of the common offenders. Small bugs like ants and aphids can stunt growth. Other insects, like cabbage moths, can devour entire plants in your yard. 

Larger animals also like your vegetables. Mice and rats love to snack on greens, which ruins produce and sometimes kills entire shrubs. Other rodents like squirrels and chipmunks uproot things with their pesky digging. 

Even though we love a good birdsong, birds can also pose risks to the garden. They like to snack on seeds, like the ones you grow in the spring. Not to mention birds can carry disease and leave messy droppings. We’d rather keep them out to protect our plants.

Spraying garden flowers
Keep critters out of your garden with a few simple tips and tricks.

Why You Should Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals

Before you decide to drown your garden in pesticides, remember the chemicals can harm your health, especially if you’ve been growing vegetables to eat. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, several insecticide brands can damage genes and cause congenital disabilities. 

If you have kids or pets that spend time outside, a yard full of harsh chemicals can be dangerous. The runoff from the insecticides can also contribute to the pollution of local streams and lakes. 

Pesticides don’t kill off all insects because some have already developed a tolerance. The bugs that survive will surely multiply and overrun everything. You can use other more natural and effective solutions to your garden critter problem.

Pro Tip: Fill your garden with these 10 Most Beautiful Spring Flowers (and How to Plant Them)

What Can I Plant In My Garden To Keep Critters Away?

To keep unwanted pests out of your garden, you can try growing things they don’t like. Aphids and beetles will flee if you have chives in your yard. Lavender will repel moths and flies, but you’ll need a sunny spot to grow it. Consider mint to keep mosquitos away, but you might want to keep it in a pot so it doesn’t take over.

Other herbs you can plant to deter pesky critters include rosemary and basil. The pungent smell drives flies and other pests away. In fact, nearly any scented herb help. Find one that suits your climate and try it for yourself. 

Squirrels and rabbits can also be driven off with things like garlic and onions. They’ll also avoid daffodils and other fragrant flowers. 

Woman gardening
Avoid using harsh chemicals and instead use natural herbs and oils to keep animals out of your garden.

5 Ways To Repel Garden Pests and Critters 

Keeping pests out of your garden can be near impossible. Luckily, we’ve collected five methods for you to try. We can’t wait to try these out in our yard this year, too.

#1 Garlic 

Most garden critters dislike strong scents, but you don’t have to grow fragrant plants to keep the bugs at bay. Try spraying the leaves with homemade garlic water.

You’ll peel and puree ten garlic cloves and combine with a quart of water. Let it sit overnight, then strain the mixture with cheesecloth and mix in a cup of vegetable oil and a dash of cayenne pepper. Allow it to sit for an additional day, and you’ll have a concoction bugs will hate.

Dilute the mixture with one gallon of water for every half cup of garlic solution. You’ll have a pest-free garden in no time once you’ve sprayed this natural pesticide on your plants. 

#2 Essential Oils 

You can also harness the scent of essential oils to keep pesky animals out of your yard. Cats hate the smell of rosemary, so if you’ve got a wandering feline, try spritzing your garden with it to keep them away. Dogs, on the other hand, will avoid black pepper oil. You can soak strips of cloth in the scent and hang them to keep your pets away.

No matter the pest problem you’ve been facing, you can probably find a solution using essential oils. You’ve probably used a citronella candle to keep mosquitos out of your campsite, but you can also spritz the scent on your plants to keep them away. A cotton ball soaked in peppermint oil can help control rodents, and a spray of pine oil will deter snails.

#3 Horticultural-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth may sound like a scary chemical, but it’s just fossilized algae dust. It can help kill insects by dehydrating them. Just sprinkle the dust around your garden or anywhere you’ve had a bug problem to end your woes. Be careful not to inhale the dust. It isn’t good for humans to ingest it. 

Mix four tablespoons of diatomaceous earth into a gallon of water for a more concentrated solution. Then you can apply it with a spray bottle. After spritzing your plants with the mixture, you’ll be amazed to see the insects disappear. 

You can pick up horticultural-grade diatomaceous earth at any garden center or order it online to have it delivered to your front door.

Gardening gear in dirt
Buy Diatomaceous Earth from your local garden center to use in your garden.

#4 Liquid Soap 

Try liquid soap if you need a quick solution for your garden critters. You probably already have everything you need on hand for this deterrent. Mix a tablespoon of dish soap with a quart of warm water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spritz the leaves with the solution to get rid of aphids. 

You want to make sure you use soap without bleach. Many gardeners swear by Dawn brand dish soap. Try Dr. Bronner’s pure liquid castile for a brand with fewer additives. As we’ve mentioned before, pests dislike strong scents. Try using a scented soap for a little extra repellent power.

#5 Good Bugs 

You shouldn’t drive all the bugs in your yard off. In fact, you can encourage certain good insects to come and repel the ones you don’t want. Ladybugs eat aphids, which will keep your plants thriving. Scientists estimate that these beatles consume up to 5,000 aphids during their life. 

Ground beetles also snack on small, pesky bugs. You can attract them to your garden with herbs like mint and rosemary, which will also work to deter pests you don’t want. Green lacewings prefer to live in green, leafy plants. They’ll eat any soft-bodied insect, including aphids and caterpillars. 

Pro Tip: Don’t know where to get your garden gear from? We uncovered What Big Box Store Has The Best (and Cheapest) Garden Center?

Keep Garden Critters Away Naturally

Garden critters can be frustrating, but planting fragrant herbs and spritzing them with essential oils or garlic can lay your worries to rest. Instead of drowning your yard in harmful pesticides or giving up altogether, you should definitely try some of these solutions. 

We can’t wait to keep pests out of our garden for a fruitful summer harvest!

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