By Yolanda Vanveeen
Most gardeners do not realize that they have a treasure chest of natural alternatives to chemicals in their kitchen. Many of these items can be found in unexpected places such as in taco seasoning, pancake mixes and soy sauce. There are many more uses for these items but here is a quick list of all the ingredients you will need to garden naturally:
#1 Hot Spices- Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cayenne, Black Pepper, Curry- Sprinkle around garden or add to water in a spray bottle and use as insecticide. Most Mexican and Cajun spice mixes have a great combination of these spices.
#2 Used Coffee Grounds-Repels slugs and other bugs in the garden.
#3 Baking Soda-Controls powdery mildew on your plants. Pancake and cake mixes contain baking soda.
#4 Oils-Olive, Vegetable, Pear-Easy insecticide for aphids, ants and other smaller insects in plants and trees. Don’t DEET. Rub oil all over your body (my favorite is olive) and mosquitoes will not bite you.
#5 Garlic-Plant as a companion to repel insects or use garlic mixed with water as a spray. Repels Dracula too.
#6 Rosemary-Sprinkle in flower beds or mix with water or oils as a spray to make a great insecticide. Thyme, clove, lavender and mint also work.
#7 Salt-Sprinkle on slugs or make a salt barrier. Soy sauce has lots of salt in it.
#8 Cinnamon-Great to repel squirrels, rabbits and neighbor cats from your garden. Add to water and use as an insecticide.
#9 Vinegar-Natural herbicide. Kills weeds in your driveway and any other plant it touches. Use carefully.
#10 Water-Most insects will wash right off with water. Spray the top and bottom of the leaves in the shower or with a hose outside. If you have a wasp nest, don’t spray with chemicals. Stand ten feet back and spray with water. Do this three days in a row and the wasps will find another place to build their home.
Once you start looking at the ingredients in many items in your kitchen you will realize you can improvise easily. Remember, all natural items can still be dangerous when used in large quantities so use sparingly. They are still a better choice than the chemicals. The bonus is that they are less expensive and now that you know, the next time you see any type of seasoning packs in the clearance bin at half price, grab them up!