Thriving vegetable gardens take a lot of TLC. Yet even with the best care, insects, bugs, and other pests are common challenges and can wreak havoc on your vegetables and plants. Destructive insects and bugs are inevitable, but there are simple and cost-effective ways to stop bugs from eating your vegetables.
1. Orange peel spray
While most people enjoy the clean and pleasant scent of orange peels, bugs have an aversion to this citrus scent. Orange rinds contain limonene, a natural insect repellent and they can be safely used in your garden to help ward off these pests.
To make an orange peel spray at home, simply add orange peels to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Strain the liquid into a spray bottle and spray your vegetable plants every few days. Orange peel spray will help get rid of slugs, mosquitos, aphids, fruit flies, ants, and more.
2. Maintain a healthy and clean garden
Did you know weak and decaying plants attract more insects and bugs? It’s important to keep your plants in healthy soil, water regularly, and maintain weeds to help fight against disease and decay and pesky bugs and insects.
The Farmer’s Almanac suggests a simple spray to help ward off aphids and grasshoppers, common pests in vegetable gardens. Add 2-4 hot peppers, 1 mild green pepper and a small onion to a blender. Blend and then add mixture to 1 quart jar of water. Pour into a spray bottle and spray as needed (Farmer’s Almanac).
3. Sticky traps
Sticky traps are an effective and simple way to keep small bugs and insects away from your vegetables. Place them in the soil in between your plants to help catch aphids, flies, beetles and more. Remember to check them frequently.
4. Vinegar spray
Vinegar is a natural bug repellant and also makes a great weed killer. Garden Guides suggests using one part vinegar - white or apple cider vinegar are great options - with three parts water in a spray bottle. Add a teaspoon of dish soap. Mix the contents thoroughly and spray on both sides of your vegetable plants, not on the vegetable itself. Spraying around the perimeter of your garden will also help keep bugs from entering your garden bed.
5. Recycle your tomato leaves
Tomato leaves contain a compound called alkaloid, which is toxic to aphids and mites. Making a spray out of your pruned tomato leaves is a great way to fight off insects and bugs. To make a tomato leaf spray, Home and Gardens suggests this simple recipe. Combine equal parts of chopped tomato leaf with water and steep overnight. Then strain into a spray bottle and apply to the leaves of your plants (Home and Gardens).
Although bugs and insects can be persistent pests in your garden, these simple and cost-effective tips will help stop bugs from eating your vegetables. All you need are a few items from home and you can start protecting your garden, pesticide-free!