Do you have a vegetable garden? Are you having problems with bugs? Bugs are going to be an issue in any garden. North Texas is generally arid and hot during summer and ranks third among the most bug-friendly states.
From less-than-optimal soil conditions to harsh summer sun and long, frosty nights, microclimates challenge gardeners year after year. Fortunately, the rich diversity of plants and vertical space allows you to grow almost anything within reason, as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try harder or do things differently from time to time. Below are some tips for keeping bugs out of your vegetable garden.
1. Promote Natural Protection From Birds
Lure a wide variety of birds to your yard by providing food, water, and shelter. Use high-quality seed combinations to attract various bug-eating birds to your yard. Some seed blends also include unique ingredients that attract certain birds, such as woodpeckers, cardinals, oriole, and bluebirds. Choose a combination based on the types of birds you want to attract.
A small bird bath is an inexpensive option for providing water for birds. Rinse and refill the bird bath regularly to encourage birds to return. The water hydrates the birds, keeping them off your juicy fruits and vegetables. You can also use native trees, bushes, and decorative grass to provide safe havens for your feathered friends. The plants attract bird species that are beneficial to the environment and aid in keeping bugs out of your garden.
2. Garden Lime to Prevent Japanese Beetles
The most effective method for keeping Japanese beetles out of your garden is to use garden lime as a natural repellent. The combination of garden lime and repellent sprays works very well. Garden lime is a corrosive material that is hard on insects but gentle on plants. It protects against other pests like aphids, fleas, Colorado potato beetles, and squash bugs.
3. Cornmeal to kill ants
If your North Texas garden has an ant infestation, you can do a few things to prevent them from returning. Covering your soil with oil-soaked cornmeal is one of the most effective methods.
You can also use cornmeal to eliminate ants by sprinkling it over outdoor areas where they like to nest. Ensure you wear protective clothing and shoes while doing this, as the ants can bite through the fabric.
4. The Smell of Onion
The smell of onions is a big problem for many insects, including aphids, whiteflies, and caterpillars. These insects can’t stand the smell of onions because it activates the pheromone receptors in their antennae, causing them to rush away from the source of the scent. Therefore, this makes them easy targets for predators, who can eat or use them as an ingredient for their next meal.
The larvae of some insects, such as flea beetles, can’t tolerate the smell of onions. They take shelter under leaves and in cracks and crevices where other insects cannot reach them as they grow very slowly and are vulnerable to predation when they emerge from their cocoons. The smell of onion can encourage these larvae to come out of their hiding places early and allow for your feathered friends to come take them out.
5. The Smell of Garlic
Garlic contains allicin, an ingredient that can kill different insects when sprayed directly. One of the most effective methods of using garlic against bugs is to crush and mix it with water. You can pour the mixture onto the affected areas. You can also make a paste and apply it directly to the affected areas.
Another way to use garlic in your garden is to plant bulbs that produce cloves yearly. By planting these bulbs and planting more garlic nearby, you’ll be able to keep bugs out of your garden.
6. Repel Stink Bugs With Diatomaceous Earth
If you’re dealing with stink bugs in your North Texas vegetable garden, one natural way to keep them at bay is by using diatomaceous earth. This food-grade powder from tiny ocean creatures’ remains acts as a gentle abrasive barrier to crawling insects. Sprinkle it beneath vulnerable plants (such as tomatoes) and around the perimeter of your garden to repel stink bugs. You can also use it to create a barrier around vulnerable plants.
7. Make It Spicy
If you’re having trouble with bugs in your North Texas vegetable garden, one solution is to make it spicy! You can add cayenne pepper to the water and spray it on your plant’s leaves, stems, and soil. Cabbage loopers are particularly sensitive to this spice and will stay away from your kale and brussel sprouts if they taste it.
8. Use Barriers
You can create a shield that keeps bugs out while allowing sunlight and air movement by using a lightweight fabric such as burlap or even a sun shade, which you can find in any hardware store.
Place a thin, lightweight fabric over your plants to create a barrier that keeps bugs out while allowing sunlight penetration. While this method will not necessarily control all insects off your garden, it will keep pests away from your plants and allow you to harvest them when they are at their peak growth stage.
You can also hang the barriers over the plants to protect them from the total weight of the material. If you are going to drape burlap or muslin over your plants for more than a few hours, make sure to remove it for a few hours every day. Once your plants begin flowering, remove the material so that pollinators can pollinate your plants without being harmed by the weight of the material.
Make Sure Your Landscape Matches the Beauty of Your Garden
The best method for achieving this is to plan how you will create your yard. If you have never done it before, create a design and enter it into a contest, or try to find people willing to assist you with the process.
Choosing a landscape that complements your garden will make your job much easier when planting seeds, filling pots, and transplanting plants. For example, don’t plant flowers or plants that may block some of the views if you have a beautiful yard. All in all, birds are attracted to beautiful plants, and they will help you keep bugs out of your garden.
Is your garden bug infested? Are you getting less garden production? If you have these issues, stop procrastinating today. Call Landscape By Design or fill out our contact form on our website for a complimentary consultation to permanently keep bugs out of your garden and home.