Instead of toxic weed killers, how about a little exercise and elbow grease to pull up those weeds!
Plant flowers and bushes that are natural deterrents to bugs. Remember to use native plants that will have defense mechanisms against native insects. Plant chives, marigolds, and penstemons around your vulnerable vegetables to discourage pests.
Borax mixed with confectioner’s sugar will kill small insects and is harmless to animals. Ants can be kept at bay with lines of talcum powder, cayenne pepper or chalk.
Soap spray works well for mites and aphids: 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid (eco-friendly brand), 1 gallon of water, mix and pour into spray bottle. Spray on tops and bottoms of leaves.
Garlic oil spray is a great insect repellent. 3-4 minced cloves of garlic into 2 teaspoons of mineral oil. Let it sit overnight, strain garlic out, and add oil to 1 pint of water plus 1 tsp of biodegradable dish soap. Dilute to use mixture by adding 2 tablespoons of garlic oil mixture to 1 pint of water. Repels whiteflies, aphids, and most beetles. Caution: Do not apply on a sunny day, as oils can cause foliage to burn.
For a little stronger mixture, place a few hot chili peppers, ½ onion, and a few cloves of garlic in 2 cups of water. Boil, allow to cool, and then pour into a sealed container. Steep for two days, strain out the solids, and pour into a spray bottle.
Try a strong brew of mint leaves, cooled, strained into a spray bottle.
Resources and further reading:
Howstuffworks.com/green-living; about.com; wellnessmama.com; and various internet resources.
MAKE IT PERSONAL AND BE PART OF THE SOLUTION!