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RATHER BE OUTDOORS: Getting rid of garden pests

Dousing slugs and snails with salt may work to get them out of your garden, but it will also kill the plants. -Carson Arthur
Dousing slugs and snails with salt may work to get them out of your garden, but it will also kill the plants. -Carson Arthur

I asked my radio show listeners to share their secrets for getting rid of garden pests and there are a few great ideas that I wanted to share with you. Unfortunately, there are also some ideas that have been passed down for generations that need to be quickly forgotten.

Keep hungry insects away from your vegetables by shredding aluminum foil into strips and mixing them into your garden mulch. The foil will reflect the sunlight back into the plant. This works well with Christmas tinsel also. OK, don’t do this. I’m not sure why the idea came around that insects don’t like shiny things, but it’s definitely false. Some bird and rodents avoid bright metals and light, but insects are often attracted to it. Also, aluminum foil is recyclable, but not very biodegradable. You will have shredded aluminum and tinsel in you garden for hundreds of years.

Use stinky plants around your cabbages and tomatoes to deter insects. Plant mint, garlic, dill, and sage around plants that get a lot of insect damage to protect them. This is a great idea. While insects don’t have a nose and a sense of smell like mammals, they do pick up scents through their antennae. Planting strong-smelling herbs will fool them into missing the plants you want to save. Just be careful, many of these aromatic herbs have a tendency to take over the garden.

Keep four-legged pests out of the garden by soaking rags in white vinegar and place on stakes and your vegetables. Re-soak the rags every seven to 10 days. Ummm . . . no thank you. Who wants to be in a yard that smells like vinegar all summer? I suspect this probably works but the consequences do not outweigh the benefits. I’d spend the whole summer craving fish and chips.

To catch earwigs, role a wet newspaper into a tube and put a rubber band around it to hold the round shape. Place the tube in an area where earwigs have been seen and leave it overnight. Next morning, carefully lift the tube and shake the earwigs into a pail of soapy water. Repeat until the earwigs are gone. Yup, I love this one. Such a simple idea and I know it will work because earwigs like to eat wet fibres. Another version of this one is to use a hand-held mini car vacuum to suck up lily beetles and dump them into soapy water as well.

Get slugs and snails out of your garden by dousing them with salt. The salt acts like a drying agent on them. This works, but please don’t start spreading salt around your garden. It will kill the plants too, which is technically another effective way to get rid of slugs if you are desperate. No flowers equals no pests.

Keep hungry insects away from your vegetables by shredding aluminum foil into strips and mixing them into your garden mulch. The foil will reflect the sunlight back into the plant. This works well with Christmas tinsel also. OK, don’t do this. I’m not sure why the idea came around that insects don’t like shiny things, but it’s definitely false. Some bird and rodents avoid bright metals and light, but insects are often attracted to it. Also, aluminum foil is recyclable, but not very biodegradable. You will have shredded aluminum and tinsel in you garden for hundreds of years.

Use stinky plants around your cabbages and tomatoes to deter insects. Plant mint, garlic, dill, and sage around plants that get a lot of insect damage to protect them. This is a great idea. While insects don’t have a nose and a sense of smell like mammals, they do pick up scents through their antennae. Planting strong-smelling herbs will fool them into missing the plants you want to save. Just be careful, many of these aromatic herbs have a tendency to take over the garden.

Keep four-legged pests out of the garden by soaking rags in white vinegar and place on stakes and your vegetables. Re-soak the rags every seven to 10 days. Ummm . . . no thank you. Who wants to be in a yard that smells like vinegar all summer? I suspect this probably works but the consequences do not outweigh the benefits. I’d spend the whole summer craving fish and chips.

To catch earwigs, role a wet newspaper into a tube and put a rubber band around it to hold the round shape. Place the tube in an area where earwigs have been seen and leave it overnight. Next morning, carefully lift the tube and shake the earwigs into a pail of soapy water. Repeat until the earwigs are gone. Yup, I love this one. Such a simple idea and I know it will work because earwigs like to eat wet fibres. Another version of this one is to use a hand-held mini car vacuum to suck up lily beetles and dump them into soapy water as well.

Get slugs and snails out of your garden by dousing them with salt. The salt acts like a drying agent on them. This works, but please don’t start spreading salt around your garden. It will kill the plants too, which is technically another effective way to get rid of slugs if you are desperate. No flowers equals no pests.

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