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Homemade Insecticidal Soap
Homemade Insecticidal Soap Recipe
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/05/2020 | 5 Comments
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Battling aphids, thrips or another garden pest? This homemade insecticidal soap will help you get the problem under control cheaply, and without the use of harmful chemicals.

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Aphid Damage
The Fun Way to Get Rid of Aphids
By Erin Huffstetler | 07/02/2018 | 3 Comments
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Battling an aphid infestation? Here’s a really fun (and effective) way to get rid of them, without resorting to pesticides.

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Bowl of Strawberries
How to Keep Birds From Eating Your Berries
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/05/2018 | No Comments
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Sharing your berry harvest with the birds wouldn’t be so bad, if they were actually willing to share. But their idea of sharing seems to entail them taking a bite out of every ripe berry and leaving you with the remains. If you’re tired of battling the birds for your berries, here are some cheap and easy things that you can do to protect them. These tips will work for strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and any other berries that you’re growing in your garden.

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Homemade Tick Tubes
How to Make Tick Tubes
By Erin Huffstetler | 03/02/2018 | 21 Comments
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Battling ticks in your yard? Then, you may be surprised to learn that toilet paper rolls and dryer lint could be the key to getting rid of them.

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Make Your Own Ant Bait Traps
Make Your Own Ant Bait Traps
By Erin Huffstetler | 07/25/2017 | 12 Comments
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Dealing with ants now that the weather has warmed up? Yep, so are we. For the past couple summers we’ve had a persistent ant problem centered around our kitchen sink, and our tried-and-true solutions haven’t been working. We’ve made ant poison by mixing borax and powdered sugar together in equal parts. We’ve kept the sink cleaned out and dry. We’ve wiped down the sink and surrounding countertops with vinegar to remove their scent trails. None of it’s working. So, it’s clearly time to up our game.

And up it, we have. We just made a bunch of homemade ant bait traps. One went in the sink, where we’re seeing the ants, and the rest went around the foundation of our house. Makes sense, right? I mean why wait for the ants to come into your house? Kill’em before they have a chance to get there.

Here’s a look at how we made our ant bait traps.

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Basket of Homegrown Grapes
How to Keep Birds from Eating Your Grapes
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/31/2017 | 31 Comments
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Grapes are easy to grow, but hard to protect from birds. The first year our grape vines produced, I decided to hold off on netting our grapes, until I saw the first sign of birds munching on them. Well, the very next morning all of our grapes were gone. Clearly the wait and see approach was the wrong approach to take.

Having learned from the experience, we netted our grapes as soon as they set fruit last year. And that worked brilliantly, until a mocking bird figured out how to get inside of our nets. She had quite the feast at our expense, and we were left with just a few grapes (not grape bunches) to sample.

But that’s all in the past. This year, we will be the ones to eat our grapes. And we’ve taken drastic measures to ensure that it ends up that way …

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Homemade Codling Moth Trap with Bugs
Cheap Organic Pest Control for Fruit Trees
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/26/2017 | 7 Comments
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We planted a small orchard in our backyard several years ago (tour my garden here), and it’s finally starting to spring into action. Last year our apricot bushes fruited for the first time, and our apple trees produced their second harvest. This year, it looks like our cherry bushes are going to get in on the action, too They’re flowering now.

It’s pretty exciting to see all of our hard work coming together, but with each stage comes new obstacles. The first year our apricot bushes flowered, there weren’t any bees out to pollinate them, so we built mason bee houses to attract early pollinators to our yard. That worked like a charm, and we had lots of apricots last year. I’m sure the pests that ate them really appreciated our efforts.

Just like the codling moths appreciated our first crop of apples and the birds appreciated our first two crops of grapes. It’s enough to make you want to give up, but we’ve stuck with it, and we’ve found ways to address every one of our pests. Now we bag our grapes to keep the birds off, and we stick codling moth traps out as soon as we spot the first leaves on our apple trees.

This year I’m hoping to build on that success by finding a pest control solution for our apricot bushes and a cheaper pest control solution for our apple trees. Here’s the scoop on what I’m trying.

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Build a Carpenter Bee Trap
How to Build a Carpenter Bee Trap
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/19/2017 | 269 Comments
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I’ve done a lot to attract bees to my garden – planting flowers that they like, building them houses, etc. But carpenter bees? I’m not a fan. They do too much damage to our house, tree house and swing set each year for me to be on good terms with them. I’ve read article after article that says they only go after non-treated, rotting wood, but that hasn’t been my experience at all.

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How to Make Bug Spray
How to Make Bug Spray
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/01/2016 | 3 Comments
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Make your own bug spray, and skip all of the chemicals found in commercial versions. My recipe uses just two natural ingredients.

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Koi Pond
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Naturally
By Erin Huffstetler | 07/23/2014 | 5 Comments
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Mosquitoes are annoying, but you know what else is annoying? Most of the advice on how to get rid of them. Do a quick web search for “get rid of mosquitoes” and you’ll get two basic pieces of advice:

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How to Make Bug Repellent Sticks
How to Make Bug Repellent Sticks
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/30/2014 | 16 Comments
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Last weekend, my family went on a camping trip, and it reminded me of a project that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while: turning my bug repellent bars into bug repellent sticks.

I’ve been saving our empty deodorant containers for a while, with the intention of making our own deodorant, but one day while I was storing our empties, it occurred to me that bug repellent in stick form would be genius. It would be faster to apply; you could keep your hands clean; and it would be easy to throw into a bag for trips.

So, that’s just what I made yesterday. This is the same all-natural, no-junk recipe that I shared before, just in a different form. Want to learn how it’s made?

Here are my step-by-step instructions:

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Organic Pest Control
Organic Pest Control
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/23/2014 | 1 Comment
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People gardened long before pesticides existed, so how did they deal with pests? By working with nature, instead of against it. Here’s a look at some of the organic pest control measures that I have in place in my garden.

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Ladybug House
How to Build a Ladybug House
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/15/2014 | 5 Comments
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We built mason bee houses to attract pollinators for our fruit trees. Now, that that’s worked, we’re working to attract more beneficial bugs to help with the pest control.

Since this is the first year that our apricot bushes have fruited, making sure they’re well protected is top priority. I did some research to figure out which pests we were likely to be up against, and learned that aphids are one of the biggest threats. Knowing that ladybugs have a voracious appetite for aphids, I decided it was time for us to finally build that ladybug house that’s been sitting on my to-do list for ages.

We already have a good ladybug population in our yard, but by building them a house, we hope to encourage them to overwinter in our yard, so they’ll be ready to go to work for us as soon as the warm weather arrives each spring. And since we’ll be placing our new ladybug house next to our apricot bushes, that should mean our bushes will be well protected from aphids all season long.

Ladybugs also eat mites, white flies and scale, so we may just have to build another one for our vegetable garden.

Want to build your own ladybug house? Here’s how we made ours:

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How to Make a Citronella Candle
How to Make a Citronella Candle
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/20/2013 | No Comments
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Fend off mosquitoes with a homemade citronella candle. Here’s how to make one.

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Grapes
How to Protect Fruit from Birds
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/04/2013 | No Comments
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Last year my grape vines produced fruit for the first time. I knew the birds would go after them, but I decided to hold off on netting them until I saw signs of munching. They just seemed too pretty to net. Colossally bad call on my part. I literally went to bed one night with bunches and bunches of grapes and woke up the next morning to none. My vines were only a few days past bloom, and each grape was no bigger than a pea, so I can’t imagine they even tasted good. Rude birds!

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