Kitchen Remedies Banish Garden Pests

Mix up some simple kitchen recipes for those potentially pesky garden problems.

Garden Pests

Garden Pests

Here's a shortcut that can help make quick work of gardening chores, especially in the pest control department. It's an organic way to save time and money while making your garden more beautiful.

"I don't like to spend much time in the kitchen, but that's where I found all these kitchen-cupboard remedies for pest control," says Marianne Binetti. For example, all too often the slugs in her garden take over her flowers. Since the mother slug lays her eggs at the base of the most tender, succulent plants, the babies proceed to pulverize her precious petunias. But Binetti sprays a homemade half-and-half mixture of ammonia and water on the slugs.

"In order for the solution to work, you have to spray it directly on the slugs," she says. The bonus is that the ammonia converts into nitrogen, so as you're killing the slugs, you're actually fertilizing your plants.  Binetti suggests using the leftovers to wash the windows.

"I use beer as snail bait," adds master gardener Paul James. "I put a little bit in a shallow container, and I place it in the garden. They crawl in, but they can't crawl out."

Look at what the pesky worms have done to Binetti's beautiful cabbage. To protect her cabbage, Binetti sprinkles self-rising flour on the cabbage leaves. The worms eat the flour, and when the sun comes out, the worms explode.

Just take a cup or two of self-rising flour, pour into a small paper bag and roll up the top of the bag. Poke a few holes in the base of the bag and sprinkle the flour over the cabbage. Binetti recommends applying the flour to your plants during the early morning since that's when the worms are most actively eating. Once the mercury starts rising, so will the worms.

Who knew potatoes would have an eye for trapping insects? Binetti catches the bad bugs in her unique version of mashed potatoes. First, she buries a few potatoes in the soil. The potatoes lure all the bad bugs that typically eat root crops. Once all the bad bugs are in one spot, she removes the potatoes and mashes them. Just take a potato and slice it into smaller sections. Poke a skewer through each section. Bury the potatoes a couple of inches in the soil. Space each slice about a foot or so apart in your root crops. The skewers stick up through the soil to help you find the potatoes later. In a couple of weeks, pull the potatoes up to reveal all kinds of bad bugs that would otherwise be eating your crops. Remove the bugs from the potatoes and squash the little culprits.

If fungus is a problem, use a solution of half skim milk and half water. When sprayed on the foliage of roses, it prevents mildew and black spot from growing. Spraying for black spot should be done in the morning so the leaves will be completely dried in the sunshine. The skim milk forms a thin film over the leaf and prevents black spot from developing.

Another hot tip from Binetti's kitchen is using chile powder to spice up your bulbs. Chile powder keeps the moles, voles, mice and squirrels from digging up bulbs because of the hot pepper in the powder. "Varmints don't like the bitter taste of chile powder, and I'm sure the blazing heat is a deterrent, as well," she says. Just sprinkle a little chile powder on top and around the bulb and plant accordingly. "I like to sprinkle a little on top of the soil, too," she adds. "This keeps the dogs and cats from digging up the freshly worked soil."

The next time you hunger for fresh new ways to get rid of pests in your garden, check the kitchen first. You'll find that all these gardening shortcuts and easy solutions may give you more time to relax in your garden.

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