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Environmentally Friendly Gardening Products

When using organic products (earth-friendly), it is important to remember that these products also kill beneficial insects that can be encouraged to stay in the garden as natural controls. Use sparingly and only when you know that the bugs and pests you want to kill are actually harmful to your crops.

Environmental Friendly Gardening


Ants are beneficial for aerating the soil and cleaning up weed seeds and other debris.

Ant Repellent

Ø Mint (Mentha species) planted in pots or in the ground, deters ants from entering the house.

(Plant mint in the ground either in pots or with a barrier around it, as it is very invasive and will

overtake other plants.)

Ø Spray cayenne powder in holes or cracks where ants are seen. Powered cayenne is available from grocery or health food stores.

Ø Pour boiling water on anthills to kill ants quickly.

Ø Use equal parts of vinegar and water to wash countertops, cabinets, floors, etc. as an ant


Ø Sprinkle baking soda under sinks near pipe openings and along basement windows to deter ants

and other bugs.


Ø Spray plants frequently with a strong stream of water to knock the aphids off. Many other small

insects can be controlled by washing off plants with a stream of water including red spiders and

flea beetles. Try it first before resorting to sprays.

Ø Pests of all kinds will stay away from plants you want to protect, when garlic and onions are

planted near them. Do not plant garlic near peas.

Ø Aphids will stay away from anise and coriander.

Ø Make yellow sticky traps to attract aphids. To make, coat 10x10 in. (25x25 cm) panels with

yellow paint topped with Tanglefoot or petroleum jelly. Place the traps adjacent to vulnerable


Ø Use row covers for an effective barrier.

Ø Aluminium foil used as mulch confuses the aphids so they don’t know where to land. Spread the

mulch 6 in. (15 cm) beyond the plant.

Ø Flour or baking powder dusted on the undersides of plant foliage slows the upward trek of aphids.

Ø Ladybugs are a gardener’s best friend as they eat aphids, scale insects, and mealy bugs.

Fungal Remedy

Ø Dissolve 1 tsp. (5 mL) baking soda in 1 qt. (500 mL) water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle

and liberally mist plants.

Ø Cinnamon is a great fungal remedy. Liberally sprinkle cinnamon on top of soil around plants.


Ø Cinnamon sprinkled in your cupboards and drawers will get rid of silverfish.

Unwanted Weeds

Ø Pour boiling water over weeds in cracks. Vinegar sprayed on the weeds will also work.

Remember that this will sterilise the soil so use carefully.

The best strategy for controlling weeds is prevention. I have discovered that a layer of black plastic over the area works well if you can wait for a growing season before planting your crop. I have also put it on in the fall, and waited till late in the spring growing season so that the heat of the sun smoothers the weeds. This process is called solarization and works for any new planting areas or other areas if you can leave it on until the sun does its work. A thick layer of newspaper also works. The newspaper needs to be several layers thick. Cover with mulch such as untreated wood chips, chopped leaves, or other organic mulch. Leave the smothering mulch in place for an entire growing season.


Basil Insect Spray

4 cups (1 L) boiling water

1 cup (250 mL) fresh basil leaves, or 2 tbsp. (30 mL) dried basil leaves

1 tsp. (5 mL) dishwashing liquid soap

Pour boiling water over basil leaves and let steep for 10 minutes. When cool, strain the mixture, add the dishwashing soap, and spray on affected plants as necessary.

Garlic Insect Spray

2 ½ cups (625 mL) boiling water

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp. (5 mL) dishwashing liquid soap

Pour boiling water over garlic and let steep for 10 minutes. When cool, strain the mixture, add the dishwashing soap, and spray on affected plants as necessary.

Chamomile Fungal Spray

1 cup (250 mL) fresh chamomile flowers, or 2 tbsp. (30 mL) dried chamomile flowers

4 cups (1 L) boiling water

Pour boiling water over chamomile leaves and let steep for 10 minutes.

When cool, strain the mixture, and spray liberally on affected plants as necessary.

Insect Spray

1 garlic bulb

1 small onion

1 tbsp. (15 mL) cayenne pepper

1 qt. (1 L) water

1 tbsp. (15 mL) liquid, non-detergent soap

In a blender, mix garlic, onion, pepper, and water. Let steep, then stir in liquid soap. Use immediately or store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Insect Repellent

Ø Use vinegar as an insect repellent to keep away bugs and other pesky creatures. Rub your

exposed skin and reapply as necessary.

Ø As an insect repellent, citronella oil is a simple and safe alternative to chemical repellents. It is

derived from a wild grass and is available from pharmacies and health food stores. You can

also use citronella candles to burn on the patio or dining areas.

Non-toxic Pesticide

Ø Use a handful of soap flakes, ¼ tsp. (1 mL) vinegar, and 1 qt. (1L) water. Pour into a plant

mister, only spray where needed.

Outdoor Dining Areas

Ø Crushed basil leaves repel flies. Grow a few pots in dining areas and when you sit down to eat,

pinch off some leaves, and crush them in your hand. The oil from the leaves will repel the flies.

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