How to - Pests & Diseases

Eco-friendly pest control

Repel those unwanted garden visitors with these humane and environmentally-friendly methods.

As the spring gardening season begins to warm up, gardeners are focusing their efforts on a greener cause. Not only is gardening good for your health, but each individual garden makes a real impact on its surrounding ecosystem. For instance, The Sierra Club of Canada estimates that more than 34 million kilograms of pesticides are used annually across Canada. Lucky for conscientious gardeners and the planet, eco-friendly pest control is a great way to start greening up your green space.

According to, some general pest repellent includes mint, garlic, basil, chives, dill, onions, marigolds, rosemary and lavender. But when it comes to eco-friendly methods of pest control, the more specific you can get, the better.

Slugs and snails
These slippery little creatures are a nuisance to most gardeners, but getting rid of them shouldn't be. Jeff Gillman, author of The Truth About Organic Gardening says both are repelled by tobacco so creating a barrier composed of 20 per cent chewing tobacco and 80 per cent coffee grounds around sections of your garden should keep them away. Another method is to create a few beer traps throughout your garden.

"Place a container like a pie tin or a margarine tub in the ground with the lip of the container level with the soil surrounding it, then add beer until it's about an inch short of the top. This trap will attract slugs and snails and will result in their falling into the beer and drowning," writes Gillman. also suggests a similar method using an upturned grapefruit as the trap.

Adequate fencing and netting are the top humane methods of deterring birds and deer, however it may be unsightly. Scarecrows work for up to a month for birds, but they will get accustomed to them over time so rotate the scarecrow as needed and change its appearance.

A tried and tested method of repelling deer is to have motion detected sprinklers installed, although this does not work in the winter months and can be costly. A homemade mixture worth trying is part water and hot sauce. Deers are severely repelled by hot sauce, although don't over-do it or else your plants will suffer. 

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