6 Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Out of Your Garden

6 Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Out of Your Garden

Sep 7th 2023

Are you looking for a way to keep bugs out of your garden without pesticides? You're in the right place!

Check out the following six tips to eliminate pesky garden bugs without chemicals! From using homemade organic insecticide sprays to proper garden maintenance, these tips will show you how to keep bugs out of your garden while maintaining organic balance, supporting what you love, and eliminating what you don't.

Nothing brings greater joy for a gardener than a garden full of beautiful flowers and delicious homegrown vegetables. Whether your garden is small or large, bugs can be a real nuisance. Whether it's beetles on your beets or aphids beating up on your azaleas, having bugs take over your garden is an unpleasant thing. They might eat through your flower buds before they bloom or ruin your vegetable harvests.

How to Keep Bugs out of Your Garden Naturally

Numerous commercial insecticides or repellents are used to combat these nuisances, but they are unsafe for use around flowers and vegetables. They can also harm the environment, humans, and beneficial insects.

Fortunately, there are several easy, natural, and cost-effective ways to make your garden bug free. In this guide, we will explore the six natural ways to keep your garden healthy and bug-free without using harsh chemicals. All you need are a few household items! So, let's get started!

Companion Planting

Companion planting is one of the best ways to keep bugs away from your favorite vegetables or flowers. It is an old-age practice that involves growing certain plants together to maximize their benefits and deter pests. This works because some plants naturally repel bugs while others attract beneficial insects.

Here are some popular companion plants and tips on how to use them,  

Marigolds: Keep destructive insects away, particularly aphids. French Marigolds even kill the harmful nematodes in the soil. Plant them near potatoes, root vegetables, or other plants that may attract aphids. Furthermore, the bright hues of marigold flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which promotes overall garden health.

Alliums: Onions, garlic, and chives repel most insects due to their potent odor. Plant them around high-value flowers and crops to keep pests at bay.

Mint: Catnip, spearmint, peppermint, and other mint plants emit a strong scent that repels flies, beetles, ants, mealybugs, and other pests.

Herbs: Basil, oregano, rosemary, and other strongly scented herbs keep mosquitoes, flies, aphids, tomato hornworms, and spider mites away from your garden.

Lavender: This plant has a strong odor and is known for repelling fleas and mosquitoes.

However, you should find companion planting combinations suitable for your region and include them in your garden layout for effective pest control.

Beneficial Insects

What better way to eliminate bugs in your garden than to assign the task to someone else? Encouraging beneficial insects to inhabit your garden is a natural and long-term strategy to control pest populations.

Ladybugs are not harmful to your vegetable garden, but they are ferocious warriors regarding pest control in your garden. They can eat up to 50–60 aphids every day. In addition to aphids, they will also eat mealybugs, leafhoppers, mites, and other soft-bodied insects and their larvae. According to studies, ladybugs can consume up to 5,000 in their lifespan!

Spiders, wasps, dragonflies, lacewings, and praying mantises are all beneficial in the fight against insects that harm plants. Praying mantis eggs and ladybug larvae are typically available at local nurseries.

Attract these beneficial allies by growing nectar and pollen-producing plants like fennel, dill, cosmos, sunflower, angelica, and yarrow. Create a habitat for beneficial insects by placing insect hotels or keeping mulch or fallen leaves in quiet places. For example, Dragonflies will set up shop near ponds, while adult lacewings will hang around in flower-filled gardens (the adults drink nectar; the larvae consume harmful insects).

Neem Oil

Neem oil, derived from the Neem tree, is a natural insecticide and repellent. It affects the feeding and reproduction cycles of many garden bugs. Neem oil is effective against aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, spider mites, thrips, and caterpillars. Neem oil will also help to get rid of powdery mildew.

To use neem oil, mix one or two teaspoons of pure neem oil with one liter of water, add one teaspoon of liquid soap, and spray the mixture onto the leaves. It can last up to three weeks, although you must reapply after rain.

Neem oil kills pests by suffocating them and affecting their hormone system, decreasing their ability to feed and reproduce. Neem oil is also safe for beneficial insects, making it an important component in integrated pest management.

Organic Bug Sprays

Using homemade bug sprays to keep bugs off plants is another easy and natural way to make your garden bug-free. Always perform a patch test before spraying these bug sprays on your plants. Spray a little dose onto a few plant leaves and wait 24 hours to observe whether any damage occurs. Avoid applying foliar sprays during the day heat since sun exposure might cause leaf burn.

Here are some examples of organic bug sprays you can make at home.

Insecticidal Soap Spray

Homemade insecticidal soap, a common bug spray for treating a variety of bugs, is made of water, liquid soap, and cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper repels many common pests, while the soap acts as a surfactant to help the mixture adhere to the insects and suffocate them.

Garlic Spray

Garlic spray is another natural insecticide. You can make an effective repellent for soft-bodied insects like aphids and mites by mixing garlic cloves and water, then filtering the mixture.

Vinegar Spray

Vinegar spray is one of the most effective homemade bug sprays. It is a natural bug repellent and a weed killer. Mix one part vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar) with three parts water in a spray container and add a teaspoon of dish soap. After thoroughly mixing the contents, spray on the plants. Spraying around the outside of your garden bed will also help to keep bugs out.

Physical Barriers

Using physical barriers is an effective approach to prevent insects from reaching your plants. Although, it is not a permanent solution.

Row covers, made of lightweight fabric or mesh, can be placed over vulnerable plants to protect them against pests. These covers allow air, light, and water to pass through while keeping insects away from the plants. Row covers effectively protect crops from flying insects such as cabbage moths and carrot flies. Furthermore, installing small mesh screens or netting around fruit trees or berry bushes can keep birds, insects, and other animals away from the fruits.

However, remember that soil-dwelling insects and newly hatched pests will still be able to get to your plants. Remember to remove physical barriers when plants need pollination or when they outgrow the covers to avoid growth hindrance.

Proper Garden Maintenance

Lastly, maintaining a clean and healthy garden is essential for natural pest control. Remove weeds, fallen leaves, and other debris from areas where insects can hide. These hiding spots can serve as breeding grounds for bugs. Furthermore, proper watering practices are required. Overwatering can result in a damp environment that attracts pests such as slugs, snails, and fungus gnats. Water deeply but allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Furthermore, giving your plants proper nutrients and appropriate growing conditions will boost their natural pest defenses. Healthy plants are more resistant to diseases and insect attacks, so focus on soil quality, organic fertilizer, and crop rotation to ensure healthy plant growth.

Wrapping Up

Remember that a healthy garden ecosystem includes beneficial insects and bugs. It is important to strike a balance that reduces pest damage while conserving your garden's biodiversity.

You can effectively keep bugs out of your garden and lessen your dependency on chemical solutions by using these six natural tips. Adopting these natural ways will help you grow healthy plants and make your garden eco-friendly.