Deter Garden Pests Naturally

Keep pests, diseases, and critters out of your garden with a homemade spray you can whip up in less than five minutes.

By Jean Nick



If animals think of your garden as the local salad bar, here are a couple of sprays to try. There's no guarantee they'll work, depending on how many critters there are and what their other options are, but they are inexpensive and worth a try.

Pepper Hopper Chaser

  • 1 ounce hot pepper sauce (the hotter, the better)
  • 4 drops natural dish soap or liquid castile soap
  • 1 cup fresh marigold, artemesia, yarrow, or other aromatic leaves from plants that your local rabbits avoid (optional)

If using the optional fresh leaves, put them in a blender with a cup or two of water and puree until smooth. Strain the puree through a coffee filter to remove any solids that could clog your spray bottle. Put the "tea" into a one-quart spray bottle, add the hot sauce and soap, and add water to fill the bottle. Spray on the surfaces of all your plants. Repeat once a week or after every rain. Store any leftover spray for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Mooove Elsewhere
Milk is a surprisingly effective deer deterrent.

  • 1/4 cup milk (any kind)
  • 4 drops natural dish soap or liquid castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner's

Put the milk and soap into a one-quart spray bottle and top off with water. Spray on all the young tender growth in your garden. Repeat once every 10 days during the growing season. This spray doesn't keep well, so pour out any that's left over and clean out the sprayer after each use.

Farm gal, library worker, and all-around money-pincher Jean Nick shares advice for green thrifty living every week on Rodale News.