We don’t have a fence put up around our garden. With owning a new house, the projects are never ending, and they add up fast. So we decided to forgo the garden fence this year, seeing as how most of our neighbors don’t fence in their gardens. So with the help of
advice from locals and some good old fashioned trial-and-error, I’ve found a few effective ways to keep hungry animals and insects from destroying our crops.
1.) Lime: we put lime down on the bottom of our trenches before we planted potatoes, garlic, and onions to keep bugs from eating the crop underground. We didn’t lose a single potato to slugs because of this.
2.) Dog Hair: we asked the local dog groomer to save us a bag of dog hair for one week and we put a handful of hair under each transplant. Soon after planting our tomato and bell pepper transplants, I noticed the leaves were getting eaten up. Rabbits love eating these plants and a great way to deter them is to lie down dog hair in the garden. Some people swear by spreading it around the perimeter of the garden, but we live on a ridgetop and the winds get very powerful out here, so I stuffed it under the base of the plants so the leaves of the plants could keep the hair from blowing away. We haven’t had any issues with bunnies coming to feast on our crops since! I’m going to ask for another bag soon so I can put more down when I plant my fall crops.
3.) Human Urine: along the same lines as #2, you could pee in a bucket and drizzle it around the perimeter of your garden if you can’t get your hands on dog hair from the groomer. We did this that long week I was waiting for the dog hair and we didn’t lose any more tomato leaves to the bunnies.
4.) Egg Shells: crush up your egg shells and spread them around the base of your plants to deter slugs. They don’t like crossing their sharp edges.
5.) Cayenne Pepper Spray: make a spray of garlic, cayenne pepper, and peppermint essential oil to keep white butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, etc. from destroying your plants. You can find a recipe on Pinterest somewhere I’m sure, but I just steeped garlic and cayenne pepper in a big pot of boiling water, strained it and added peppermint oil. Spray in the early morning before the sun gets too hot.
6.) Zinnias: these colorful flowers deter cucumber beetles and tomato worms, so plant them in between rows of cucumbers and tomatoes. They also attract hummingbirds which eat white flies that may damage potato plants, so we put one big row of zinnias behind our potatoes as well.
I’m excited to plant Nasturtium (an edible flower that helps repel cabbage worms) and try floating row covers on our cabbage in the fall. We lost the whole crop to white caterpillars and I’m determined to grow some for homemade kimchi this year!
What do you use to keep pests and insects off your garden crops?