While you may be looking outside thinking “Winter sure is throwing a tantrum that Spring is here,” now is the best time to be getting your garden prepped and ready for the warmer days ahead! I don’t know about you, but last year was TERRIBLE for my strawberries…SO. MANY. SNAILS. (ugh!) So I’ve been doing my research to make sure this year’s crop will be fantastic. If you’re wanting to decrease the chemicals used for your garden, then this info is for you!

Many flowers and herbs work together to help the garden’s ecosystem flourish. For example, Basil planted around tomato plants boosts the flavor of the tomatoes as they grow, and Marigolds planted through the garden help keep critters like eelworms and white fly away. Peppermint and garlic are also great natural deterrents. Don’t have space for these plants? Need a little extra help? Give this general spray a try! Remember, it might not appear to work the first day, but over several days your should see improvement.

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General Insect Deterrent Spray

1 Drop Cinnamon

4 Drops Rosemary

2 Drops Clove

1 Drop Thyme

3 Drops Lemongrass

1 Dropper Bottle

2  Pint-size Jars with Lids

1 Unbleached Coffee Filter

To Make: Combine essential oils into a glass dropper bottle (6x recipe to fill a dram dropper bottle).    In one glass pint jar, fill with water and add 2-4 drops of essential oil blend. Shake and let set for 24hours, shaking when you think about it. When ready, pour the oil water through the coffee filter into the other jar and store in a cool dry place (like a fridge or pantry).

To Use: Right before spraying the garden, add 1 Tablespoon of the Insect Deterrent water to a pint size jar with a spray lid (or spray bottle). Shake to combine and spray daily for several days and then as needed.

IMG_0757As I mentioned before-snails and slugs were the bane of my existence, until I tried these methods! I hope they help you as well. The first seems a bit unconventional, but it’s easy and not only deters slugs and snails, but it helps keep mice, cats, and dogs away as well.

Snail and Slug Deterrent

Clean Old Food Container (i.e. yogurt, sour cream, baby food, etc.)

2 Drops Essential Oil (Cedarwood, Clove, Peppermint, or Rosemary)

Water

To Make/Use: Bury an old food container in the garden so the top is level with the surrounding dirt. Add a little vegetable oil or water into the contain and add 2 drops of essential oil. Cover when it rains and refill as necessary.

Another way to deter snails and slugs is to put a physical barrier around the areas they like to be in most (usually the thickest plants such as strawberry patches). Crushed eggshells, course sandpaper, copper wire, or dried pine needles are the best options. If you want to take it a step further, add a drop of essential oil to the crushed eggshells or sandpaper for extra deterrent power.

Do you have other tried-and-true methods you use in the garden? Share them with us below. Happy Gardening!

~The Spark Team~