Whether you have a large backyard garden or just a window herb garden, you undoubtedly have to deal with pests. Pesticides, by their very nature, are meant to kill some organism or weed. This potential is why you need to be caution when using them.
The concerns with using pesticides are that they may kill non-targeted plants. They may also contaminate the soil or water. To avoid these consequences, you need to use pesticides that balance the need to get rid of a pest with protection for the environment. Fortunately, you have several options that are less harmful to the environment than synthetic chemicals.
One of the simplest pesticides you have at home is hot water. Boiling water poured on a weed will certainly do the job, albeit not the most convenient option for large-scale pest control. Another household solution you can try is vinegar. A five-percent solution has a kill rate of 85 to 100 percent for weeds, explains the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Bear in mind, though, it is a broad-spectrum herbicide and can kill non-targeted plants.
Insecticidal Soap Spray
A homemade insecticidal soap spray is an effective solution for insect pests. All you need is a mixture of one to two tablespoons of a biodegradable soap to one quart of water. Then, spray the affected plants. You can also use one ounce of three percent hydrogen peroxide instead of the soap.
You can modify the basic recipe for the insecticidal soap spray to make it a more broad based solution for deterring other pests, such as Japanese beetles, deer and rabbits. Simply add a tablespoon of red chili pepper and a few crushed garlic cloves to your spray for an effective repellent. If squirrels are the problem, you can add some oil to the mixture to help it better adhere to surfaces where they may be chewing. The strong taste is sure to keep them away.
Pests are a common garden problem. However, your solution does not have to harm the environment. As a general precaution, avoid using any pesticides, even natural ones, near water sources or wells.