The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Chase moles away with cat litter? Fight weed spread with a DustBuster? Pep up plants with pancake syrup? Sound ridiculous? Well… read on!

As for me, when something is money-saving, time-saving, and convenient, I’m interested. When all of these are also part of the solutions to the garden problems a gardener has to deal with, you have a winning combo. Every garden at one time or another has bugs, poor soil, plant diseases, critter invasions, etc. and etc. It’s pretty nice when the answer to these problems can be found in your own home.


Banish bugs, slugs and garden thugs

Make an all purpose insect spray by combining 1 Tbs. cayenne pepper, 1 Tbs. dish soap, 4 finely chopped garlic cloves and 1 finely chopped onion. Mix with 1 gallon of water. Let set over night.

Repel red spider mites with leftover coffee. Spray or sprinkle it around infested areas.

A mixture of 1 Tbs. Kaopectate in 1 gallon of water is effective in getting rid of grasshoppers.

A combination of 2 Tbs. Tabasco pepper sauce, ½ tsp. vegetable oil, and 16 ounces of water will chase insects from your plants. Shake well before spraying.

Use strips of aluminum foil as a mulch around vegetable plants. The foil reflects light, which repels insects.

Get rid of fruit flies with a mix of 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar in a clean, empty baby food jar. Fill the jar with water and set it near infested fruit or plants for a few days. The flies will climb into the jar and drown.

To remove mealybugs from houseplants, dip a cotton swab into a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water and dab onto the bugs.

Keep insects off young plants by covering them with a 2 liter soda bottle with the top and bottom cut off. Work the bottom of the bottle down into the soil about a half inch.

Tuck garlic cloves in the soil around plants in containers. One clove for small plants and more for larger ones. The garlic will repel many pests.

Fight four-legged invaders:

For an all-purpose animal repellant, mix 2 eggs, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 Tbs. hot chili pepper, 2 Tbs. ammonia, and 2 cups hot water. Let set overnight. Spray or sprinkle on the ground around plants.

To keep rabbits out of your strawberries, sprinkle black pepper around the patch.

To repel cats, spray white vinegar on the ground around your flower beds or vegetable garden.

You can also repel cats by fertilizing plants, shrubs or trees with used coffee grounds.

Used cat litter can be poured into a mole or gopher tunnel. The smell of cat will act as a repellant to these pests.

Keep deer from chewing foliage by spraying leaves with a blend of cayenne pepper and water. 1 Tbs. to 1 qt. water.

To keep rats and mice out of your garden, combine 1 cup castor oil with 2 gal. water. Use the mix to water around the plants in your garden.

Protect young tree trunks from rabbits by wrapping the base of the tree with plastic food wrap. Wrap up to about 24 inches and secure with packing tape. When you want to remove the wrap just cut with scissors. Repel raccoons by sprinkling Epsom salts around beds, gardens, and garbage cans. Re-apply after rain.

Keep dogs from “visiting” plants with a combination of a few cloves of garlic and some hot peppers pureed in a blender. Mix in 1 cup water and pour around your plant.

Plant prescriptions:

Sprinkle ground cinnamon around plants in moist, shady areas. It will fight mold, mildew, and toadstools.

Line your planting hole for azaleas and rhododendrons with steel wool pads. They will break down over time and provide iron to the azalea.

Crush some eggshells in a container of water. Let it set for a few days and use the water to water ferns and tomato plants. The calcium gives a real boost to these plants.

Soak bare root plants over night in a mixture of 1 Tbs. dish soap, 1/2 cup tea, and 1 ½ Tbs. Epsom salts. Mix this with 1 gallon of warm water and place the plant’s roots in the solution.

Fight fungal diseases on plants with a mixture of 1 cup molasses dissolved in 1 gallon of hot water. Allow to cool and spray on the infected plant.

To fight foliage disease, mix 1 Tbs. dish soap with 1 Tbs. baking soda. Mix with 1 gallon of water and spray on the plant.

Two Tbs. pancake syrup poured into the soil around the base of an ailing plant once a month will revive the plant.

Ornamental grasses love a watering of 2 pints beer to 1 quart water. The mixture enriches the soil.

Two Tbs. Epsom salts to 1 gal. of water sprayed on flowers will improve blossoms and encourage healthy foliage.

Water plants with stale soda pop now and again to add minerals to the soil.

Weed knock-outs:

Creeping weeds can be eliminated by spraying them with a mix of 5 tsp. borax and 1 quart of water. Spray directly on the weedy area.

Vacuum your dandelion seedheads with a DustBuster. This prevents the seeds from traveling to other parts of your lawn and establishing new dandelion growth.

Pour white vinegar directly on weeds. Avoid getting it on any desired plants.

To kill weeds growing on a driveway or between sidewalk cracks, pour table salt directly on the weeds.

Cover weedy areas around the base of roses or small shrubs with several layers of newspaper. Wet the paper and cover it with mulch. The paper will block sunlight to the weeds and will break down over time.

When weeding by hand, always try to pull the weeds before they develop seeds. This will prevent the weeds from spreading or re-seeding in the same spot.

Moisten the area where you are going to pull weeds or pull them after a rain. They will come out of the ground much more easily.

To spray weed killer on weeds around the base of a plant without harming the plant, cut the base off the bottom of a 2 liter soda bottle. Use the top half of the bottle to cover the weeds. Place the nozzle of the spray bottle into the neck of the soda bottle and spray the weeds without getting any on the plant.

One cup chlorine liquid bleach diluted in 1 gal. of water can be used as a spray to kill weeds growing through cracked cement or gravel on a driveway or walkway.

If you have garden questions send them in and look for your questions in future articles. Send to .




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