Growing vegetables has become a popular activity for the urban dweller. Prices for fresh produce are steadily on the rise. Those lucky enough to have a patch of soil at hand, can easily, with a little work, grow enough produce to significantly reduce one’s summer food expenditures. Gardening is a healthy and rewarding activity that can be enjoyed by those of any age in reasonable shape. Today, people feel the need to know the source of their food. There is a growing trend and preference for organically-grown produce. People today are better informed of food choices, and are increasingly choosing to eat vegetables in as natural a state as possible. This health-conscious demographic has opted to enjoy produce grown without harmful herbicides and pesticides. Nothing can be more delightful at the dinner table, than serving your very own home-grown produce.
The most frustrating aspect of gardening is losing your hard-earned labor to garden pests. You especially do not want to use dangerous chemicals and pesticides on those beautiful vegetables that will be on your table throughout the summer and fall months. What can you use to win the battle against pests without compromising your health and the environment? There are natural alternatives that will allow you to enjoy your food with a good conscience. Follow these vegetable garden tips, and make your own natural pest control preparations from some common household products:
Soap Spray: Add one tablespoon of liquid dish soap to one gallon of water. Use this preparation in a spray bottle as an effective remedy against aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Spray it on both sides of the leaves of the plants.
Garlic Spray: Combine 1 whole garlic bulb with 2 cups of water and puree at high speed in a blender. Set it aside for one day, then strain out the pulp and mix it with 1 gallon of water. Spray on both sides of the leaves of affected plants to combat aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies.
Milk Spray: Mix 1 quart of milk and 1 quart of water. Pour mixture into a spray bottle, to treat plants affected with powdery mildew, and other forms of fungus.
Baking Soda Spray: Combine 1 gallon of water, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Dispense with a spray bottle. This solution will treat powdery mildew and other fungus infections.
Ant Trap: Mix 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of Borax and sprinkle the mixture around ant hills and ant trails. The ants will take it back to their colony and solve your problem.
Chili Powder: Spraying water mixed with some chili powder around the garden will protect your garden from critters that dig in your garden.
Apply these natural preparations on affected plants once a week, or after some rain. Use the sprays sparingly. Remove leaves that are badly infested. Dispose of them in sealed plastic bags, so as to avoid infecting other plants. Not all insects in the garden are pests- some are beneficial. Try to familiarize yourself with all the residents of your garden-the needed, and the undesirable. Enjoy!