10 Old-Fashioned Pest-Control Methods for Your Garden

You started a new garden and are excited to see your plants grow. The last thing you want is for them to be damaged by pests. You may be wondering about old-fashioned ways to keep these critters away from your garden, especially if you want to avoid using pesticides. Here are 10 organic ways to keep your garden pest free.

1. Keep the Good Bugs Around

You may not think any bugs are good to have around. However, some kinds are beneficial for your garden.

Aphids, spider mites and white flies are some examples of bugs that will harm your plants. Certain bugs are predators to them, so if you see them, leave them alone.

  • Ladybugs
  • Praying Mantis
  • Hover-flies
  • Nematodes

If you’re having trouble figuring out which are good and bad, try comparing bugs in your garden to pictures online. Other predators, such as birds, can help since they will eat bad bugs, too. Consider placing a birdhouse or bath nearby.


2. Make the Good Bugs Comfortable

Depending on the bugs you need out of your garden, you can plant specific plants that attract good bugs to fight them. Planting catmint and alyssum near roses is an effective method to attract ladybugs that will eat your aphids. Try planting flowers that have smaller blooms to encourage more beneficial insects and create diversity.


3. Use Kitchen Soap

Chemical pesticides are not environmentally friendly. Insect biodiversity is decreasing by 1%-2% per year, so finding natural ways to keep them away is your best option. A simple dish soap and water combo is enough to deter aphids. You can add a little vegetable oil to get the mixture to stick to your plants better.


4. Fight With Plants

Determine what bad bugs are in your garden so you can strategically repel them with plants. Plants that keep them away are:

  • Marigolds
  • Petunias
  • Nasturtiums
  • Alliums
  • Chrysanthemums

Try to position these plants in the bugs’ favourite spots. Bad bugs can change by the season, so pay attention to what emerges at certain times of the year.


5. Pick Out Large Bugs

Some bugs are large enough to pluck out yourself. You can grab your garden gloves around sunset since they are more active around that time. Look out for caterpillars, Japanese beetles, potato beetles, slugs and hornworms.


6. Use Garlic Spray

Homemade bug sprays can be hit or miss. Most of the time they are effective, but the best part is they won’t harm pets, children or the environment. Garlic spray repels insects that may lay eggs on your plants. Spray the mixture on the bottoms of leaves and reapply at least once a week.


7. Improve Your Garden’s Soil

The best way to keep pesky bugs away from your garden is to have natural compost. Use a bin where your organic materials will break down over time, and add the mixture to your soil. You can even add extra nutrients by using fertilizers. It is worth the time to make your own compost to have a healthy garden.


8. Get Rid of Mildew and Black Spot

Aside from bugs, other pests can damage your garden. Black spots and mildew can form when humidity, excessive rain and crowded plants come into play. The fungus can cause problems, so you’ll want to try and find a natural way to get rid of it.

Mixing one part of milk and 10 parts water in a spray bottle is an excellent natural fungicide, or you can try the dish soap method. This time, you’ll want to include bicarbonate soda and vegetable oil in your mixture along with the soap and water.


9. Try Caffeine Repellent

Slugs and snails will also damage your plants. Combat them by combining espresso and water, which will be absorbed into their skin. The caffeine will kill them. If you prefer a more cruelty-free option, you can use copper barrier tape to capture them.


10. Consider Netting and Teas

Possums are another common pest to have lurking around your garden. Make Lapsang Souchong tea and spray it on your plants. Possums hate the smell of this and will stay far away after spraying. If the tea doesn’t seem to be helping, cover your plants in netting at night to protect them.

Protect Your Garden the Old-Fashioned Way

Keep your garden safe from pests by employing these old-fashioned methods. They’ve been around a long time because they work, and you’ll feel good you’re not harming the planet in the process.

Jane Marsh

Jane writes on environmental sustainability, agriculture and gardening. She also works as the Editor-in-Chief of

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