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GUEST COLUMN: Tips to keep your gardens pest-free

Cats are hunters by nature and can rid your garden of mice.
Cats are hunters by nature and can rid your garden of mice. - 123RF Stock Photo

While certain critters like ladybugs and bees are beneficial to our gardens, there are other pests most gardeners would like to keep out.  

Here are five tricks to keep your garden as pest-free as possible this summer.  

Build a barrier 

Physical barriers are a great deterrent for pesky bugs and other small creatures and can help protect your garden. If snails and slugs are your issue, try placing a copper ring around the base of your plants. The chemical reaction that occurs when these little guys crawl across copper causes an unpleasant feeling for their skin, so they’ll be in no rush to come back. If you’re trying to protect special fruits and veggies, it may be worth investing in some chicken wire cloches for an added layer of protection.  

Find your friends 

To fight against the tiniest pests, take some time to research which insects are beneficial, and try to welcome them into your space. Ladybugs, for example, will eat mites, aphids, and other damaging pests. Planting dill is a great way to attract ladybugs to your garden.  

Use repellents 

Dealing with larger visitors, such as rabbits or racoons? Scent repellants can be a great option and cause no harm to the curious critters. Motion-activated water sprayers or noise makers can also be enough to give your unwanted guests a little scare, but they might not work long-term, as the animals catch on to your tricks. Changing up your tactics is the best way to stay on top of the game.  

Bring in back up  

Although you might spend most of your time trying to keep your cats or dogs out of your garden, these unlikely allies can be key to making sure other creatures keep their distance. Cats are hunters by nature and can rid your garden of mice and gophers, and dogs mark their territory warning other animals to stay away.  

Healthy plants are happy plants 

It’s impossible to keep your garden entirely pest-free, so the best thing you can do is ensure that your plants are healthy and happy. When plants are stressed, they are less able to tolerate garden pests. Be sure to water properly and fertilize as necessary to keep your plants in tip-top shape.  

Bonus tip: Have some coffee grounds lying around? Not only are they a beneficial addition to your soil, but many creatures from slugs to stray cats and deer hate coffee! 

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