As The Trowel Turns…

I’ve never been one to spray chemicals on my plants to get rid of plant eating garden bugs… In fact the only chemical I use in my garden is an application or two of Miracle-Gro each season.  But every year those annoying little pests come back… And chomp away at my vegetables…So Mavis wants to know… How do YOU keep those little leaf munchers away?

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control


    • Rach

      The Beer really only works for slugs, we’ve done it and it definitely gets them, but we’re still having probs with another bug (like the one you must be dealing with) eating our plants in the garden. I think I’ll try the soap and water mix, sounds pretty easy 🙂

    • STYLET OIL kills the bugs and any eggs, and is very gentle on plants…NEEM OIL is a great preventative before they attack, and after….and is also quite harsh on the plant. Stick with stlyet. I trust it with my MOST important plants ; )

  • Allison

    We have concrete curbing around our garden, and I have my kids color on it with sidewalk chalk. Most bugs won’t cross over the chalk, and my kids love doing it. I also put a line of chalk around my house to keep the ants out. The only downfall is you have to redo it when it rains, or when I water the garden.

  • Tamara

    Dish soap, just a little bit, in a sprayer with water

    • tami


  • Taryn

    Neem oil! It’s a natural oil that’s fairly pungent and repels bugs. When mixed with water and some natural soap (you could use castile soap or a natural dish soap), you can spray it on your plants and the bugs stay away without having to use chemicals. I don’t have the exact measurements for the mixture memorized, but they are easy to look up if you do a google search.

    Spray your plants and the soil because eventually the plants absorb the oil from the soil. It doesn’t actually kill the bugs–it just makes your plants unappetizing and they choose not to eat them. You use the spray daily until you stop noticing the bugs, and then just use it once or twice a week for maintenance.

    I bought my neem oil on ebay. It doesn’t effect the taste of your veggies unless you’ve sprayed them the day before or something. If that’s the case, just wash thoroughly.

    I had great success with this method last year and I’m continuing to use it this year.

  • Erela

    It looks like catepillars are munching on your veggie leaves. Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) is an organic control for these pests, especially cabbage worms. Its important to know what your pest is and control for that. You don’t want to just spray something that will kill everything in sight. By the way, Miracle-Gro isn’t an organic fertiziler. It lasts for about 2 weeks only, it isn’t too good for the living things in the soil or the water supply it drains into. I’ll get off my organic high horse now. Good luck!

  • Jennifer

    marigolds – or go to zamzows for a natural solution

  • Regina

    Marigolds!!!!! Trust me. It works. Plus, we have several bird feeders near the garden. Those birds love a little scoop of bird seed with bugs to wash it down. Bugs don’t stand a chance in our garden.

  • mt_coupon

    I have aphids on my rhubarb – ugh – and they keep comming back year after year! I use a oil/soap/water combo and spray the plant with that. Then I also do intervals where I just spray the plant with water to knock them off the leaves (they usually can’t get back on the plant). The hard part is that is seems like if you miss one fricken’ aphid you have a whole colony again in a few days.

    I just discovered diatomaceous earth (organic/natural) will kill them also so I’m going to combine that with the above and see if I can’t put an end to my problem.

    They have only infected 1 of my 5 rhubarb plants and you can tell the issues that it’s causing the plant – that plant is 1/3 the size of my others. I’m suprised they don’t spread to my other plants because they are only a few feet apart.

    • mt_coupon

      And I just read that chives repel aphids – I’ve got some of those in my garden. Guess what’s going next to the rhubarb plant? 🙂

    • Nicole H.

      I have read alot about Diatomaceous earth as well and am anxious to try it. It’s my understanding that they mine it in the Southwest. It’s basically earth dug up from where old sea beds used to be…leaving behind little microscopic skeletons of the aquatic life that used to live there. So as insects crawl across this earth they get scratches in their shells… and there is natural silica in this earth that then dehydrates them and they die. It’s perfectly harmless for people or other animals to ingest and I have seen some research on the internet of people even mixing a tablespoon of food grade diatomaceous earth into a glass of juice or water as a natural digestion aid or to rid themselves of parasites. Another article I found was about feeding it to animals to get rid of parasitic worms.(I know…yuck.)

      I have only been able to find large bags online with high shipping prices. Zamzows has started selling large bags as well. I’m in Nampa, Idaho and would love to know where I could purchase a small amount for my raised garden if anyone knows.

  • STYLET OIL kills the bugs and any eggs, and is very gentle on plants…NEEM OIL is a great preventative before they attack, and after….and is also quite harsh on the plant. Stick with stlyet. I trust it with my MOST important plants ; )

    • sharon

      im curious about what you said about neem?I have friends and family that are swearing by it. Do you know where I can find out more about it and stylet oil?
      Bty mavis your garden is amazing!!!did you have problems with the newspaper and earwigs?just curious, now tht I live in the south I have noticed that.not a fan of them lol.thank for the tips 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    I second the marigolds! I planted a line of them through both my raised beds this year and I’ve had zero tomato worms and very little bugs at all. When my potatoes got leaf hoppers, a little spray of “Garden Safe” neem oil fungicide cleared it within a few days. The way it works is very interesting, it’s pretty harmless to us and the “good” bugs. It only affects the bugs that eat the plants by making them forget to eat or breed. Then they basically starve to death.

  • Sara

    I’ve got marigolds, too, but what has really kept bugs away from my vegetables (well, the ones I actually wanted to eat) was a cabbage my son was given in springtime at his school. We somehow kept it alive inside and then planted it and, boy howdy, has it grown. It’s probably 2 1/2 feet wide in any direction…and full of holes. And, yet, my rows of Romaine right next to it, are almost perfect. Sacrifice the cabbage for the romaine…I’m all for that.

  • It looks like you have a problem with Japanese Beetles. They start out as “grubs’ (white, thick worms) and then transform into black beetles. The only way to get rid of them for a long time is beneficial nematodes. Either a spray of live nematodes, or Milky Spore. Both of which are organic and safe but take some time to work.

    When we first moved into our house the JPs ate my garden and my hostas – to nubs, but I treated my yard 10 years ago and by year 3 they were gone. Nematodes work the best. Otherwise you will fight with them every year and always lose.

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