Deer, slugs, and other harmful garden pests may be part of our natural environment, but you must not permit them to be a natural part of your garden. Better living through chemistry has brought us factory-manufactured remedies to every issue you can imagine. However, many people choose to forgo the use of harsh chemicals in their gardens and yards to prevent excessive chemical exposure. This guide highlights several ways to keep your landscaping green and your gardens untouched by pests without spreading the chemical paste on something or using a sprayer that needs an OSHA-approved canister mask to be used safely.

Passive additions to your garden’s defenses

There are three fundamental classes of pests that want to destroy your garden: mammals (like deer and rabbits), insects (like worms), and gastropods (like garden snails and slugs). You may have heavy weaponry for battling with all three classes on the shelves of your home and garden store, but before you blow up poisons and neurotoxins, let’s take a glance at inexpensive and non-toxic ways to prevent pests.

Even if you’re not seriously concerned about exposing yourself to harmful garden chemicals and you don’t have pets or young kids, you still have at least one big reason to pursue natural deterrents first: poisoning the lower end of the food chain like slugs and insects in your garden will hold them back, but it will also dissuade native species like other insects and birds from entering the yard. You’re going to end up ensuring a loop in which you have to keep adding chemicals to deal with the issue because you’ve pushed away the element of nature that helped you.

Bring on the coffee

Coffee grounds are a perfect addition to the yard. They add nitrogen to the soil and raise the acidity for acid-loving plants, and, best of all, a wide variety of creatures cannot stand on the coffee grounds. Slugs hate coffee, and cats hate coffee; it’s even sometimes an effective olfactory-based repellent for picky deer.

Bait, trap, and deter the slugs

Slugs are the most problematic of the pests in the yard. They are the real ninjas of the devastation of the garden. Unless you watch for them carefully, it’s unusual to see slugs at all. Every night they come down on your backyard and chew the life out of everything. You can deal with slugs in many ways, based on your difficulty to kill them or only drive them to your neighbour’s yard.

Coffee grounds, as described above, will dissuade slugs to some degree. Copper is much more powerful and radically longer lasting. Slugs and snails are hateful of copper. You may use copper in several ways to keep them away from you. You can place decorative copper tape around the body of the container to prevent the slugs from creeping up into your potted plants. You can protect plants on the ground by buying rolls of thin copper sheets and making circles around the plants you want to save. When you’re finished, it’ll look like all your plants are castles in the middle of small copper fortresses.

Alternatively, you can buy pot scrubbies crafted from the copper mesh. If you’re constructing copper mesh barriers for a lot of plants, it’ll probably end up being more economical just to buy a commercial roll of copper gardening mesh.

If your efforts to discourage slugs are a failure, you will have to start trapping them. Slugs are as stupid as they sound. You can make an efficient slug trap with nothing more than an orange rind or a shallow container and some grape juice or beer. Save the half-rinds from citrus fruit like grapefruit and oranges and put them around your yard. The Slugs are going to flock to the rind. You can throw the rind in the garbage tomorrow morning or put it on top of your compost pile to dry it out in the sun and mix it into your compost. You can place grape juice or beer saucers around the garden as well. The slugs are going to dive and drown.

Repel insects with organic sprays

An abundance of organic recipes for insect-repelling plant sprays is available online. Most of them have common ingredients, such as garlic cloves, hot pepper, and sometimes the essential oil extract from one or both. Mixtures of the two work well to repel anything from bugs to bunnies.

Deterring the big pests

If slugs are the most irritating little pests, beautiful yet devastating animals such as rabbits and deer are the most problematic big pests. A few deer can reduce a flourishing garden patch to waste in a matter of days. Unlike the easy orange-rind traps that you use for slugs, you’ve got to be a little bit trickier with bigger pests.

If you can manage it and it’s possible to do so, setting up a fence is the best way to keep the creatures out of your backyard. Constructing a rabbit-proof fence, the most potent deterrent to big pests. You can spray plants with unpleasant tasting compounds such as the garlic/pepper spray, but that’s not as effective or as far-reaching as adding a predator scent.

Apply bloodmeal liberally

Bloodmeal is a by-product of meat processing facilities. It’s dried, and flaked blood and animals don’t like the scent of it. Prey animals like rabbits and deer are terrified by the smell of blood, even of old, dried blood. Bloodmeal is also very high in nitrogen and a perfect supplement for your garden. Scatter it around your plants and in the beds of your yard. Be careful, however, not to spray the powder directly on the plants; the high nitrogen content may burn the foliage.

Introducing strong scents

If you have a severe dislike of spreading bloodmeal in your garden, you may also add other strong scents. Deer, in particular, is not fond of very strong smells like bars of scented soap, cheap perfume, and different strong fragrances.

Scare them off with water

Scarecrow sprinklers look like regular grass sprinklers, except they have a battery-powered motion sensor. Anything that drops down the direction of the sensor gets a sudden and powerful blast of water. They’re a little pricey, but they’re perfect for anything from deer to squirrels.

Plant pest resistant/repellent plants

This is by far the most excellent and most effective approach to pest problems. Some plants are more resistant to pests than others, whether due to terrible taste, tough fibres, thorns, or other natural disincentives.

When it refers to the use of deterrent plants, there are two primary schools of thought. The first school focuses on planting dissuasive plants as the main course of your gardening and farming adventures—choosing plants right from the start that drive the deer and the bugs away.

The second school focuses on companion planting. Instead of giving up on plants that you love but are not incredibly resistant to pests, you plant your garden in pairings where naturally repellent plants are placed near more susceptible plants. Tomato plants with oregano and basil are popular in gardens. Not only are oregano and basil perfect for lots of tomato-based foods when it comes to harvesting, but both plants are heavily scented and perfect for deterring pests.

Your best option is to consult with your local nurseries, nature centres and university extension offices to see which plants grow best in your area and provide natural pest control. Google searching for local gardening guides and gardening communities can also be useful.


If you’re doing it for yourself for the safety of your children, or to protect your cute pet from consuming poisonous slug-killers, it’s possible to drastically decrease the number of pests in your yard without using a mixture of harsh toxins and chemicals. Try the techniques mentioned above, and you’ll find great results without spending tonnes of money on hazardous pesticides.

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