When your neighbors see you walking through your garden spreading cayenne pepper and seaweed all around your crops, they may think that you’ve gone off the deep end. Gardens are for watering and spreading fertilizer, aren’t they? But sprinkling herbs around your herbal garden isn’t the work of a crazy person—it’s the work of a person who doesn’t want garden bugs and other animals ravaging their precious harvest.
Indeed, we all know how annoying it is when deer, rabbits, slugs, and all sorts of other pests make a meal of the herbs and vegetables we’ve gone through such labored lengths to cultivate. Below are four simple, non-toxic solutions for deterring different kinds of pests without killing or causing harm to them.
Nontoxic Methods to Deter Garden Bugs and Other Pests
Mulch with seaweed
One of the most troublesome garden pests is slugs. They leave huge, gaping holes in our plants’ leaves as well as an unpleasantly slimy trail. But many solutions to deter slugs also winds up being lethal to them—like beer traps and diatomaceous earth. A non-lethal solution that exists, however, is seaweed. Along with containing salt that slugs naturally (and understandably) avoid, the seaweed doesn’t cause toxicity in the garden. Sprinkle the seaweed about three to four inches high so that when it dries it will be only an inch high as mulch. This can be placed around the plants (without touching them) or you can create a perimeter around the garden as a whole.
Grow sage as a deterrent
Along with being an herb with many medicinal properties, sage’s aromatic nature also has the added benefit of deterring pests like cabbage moths. Plus, it actually attracts bees. Grow some sage as a perimeter around your vegetable garden and it will act as an herbally potent deterrent for unwanted insect life.
Grow clover as a draw
While plants like sage deter garden bugs, clover attracts animal life like deer and rabbits. When a rabbit comes along to a garden that grows clover, it’s pretty much like we’re dangling a chocolate milk shake in front of them as they’re on their way to get a drink of water. Try experimenting with a clover perimeter and see how well the critters nibble at that before they go for anything else.
Sprinkle some cayenne pepper
Squirrels can cause us all sorts of problems when we’re trying to grow something delicious for ourselves. But a simple solution is to sprinkle some cayenne pepper or some red pepper flakes around our plants. This will deter them from going anywhere near the plants themselves. Be sure, though, to replace the pepper after it rains.
Our most important asset in deterring pests from our gardens, of course, is our capacity for trial and error. We would love to hear about your success stories in keeping the pests at bay, and would especially love to hear about other eco-friendly solutions you have used as well.
Please post your tricks in the comments below!