In the Garden
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How to Garden All Year Long

Whether some of us like to admit it or not, we do tend to relax into the idea that winter renders gardening off limits. Now on some level, we may know there’s still something we could be doing, but did you know how much you’re missing out on?

Continuing your green-fingered magic over fall and winter, through those first winter frosts, will replenish your barren vegetable larder with lots of produce. Fruits, berries, sweet corn, beans, potatoes, summer and winter squashes, beetroots, parsnips, chard, peas, radishes, lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, turnips, celery, peppers, pumpkins and watermelons will all be there for the picking.

frosty cabbage leaves
Photo by Adobe Stock/Koirill

The point is, gardening in winter and fall does require a different way of doing things. By not doing it, you are depriving yourself of an abundant harvest to take you into spring. Here are some tips to get you started on your year-long hobby.

1. Embrace the Frost

You really can have a beautiful, healthful garden with flavorful fruits and vegetables during October, November and even December. You many have thought those first fall frosts are insurmountable. Not true!

What the more adventurous among us have discovered is that frost is beneficial. When the temperature dips down to 32 degrees, insects are nowhere to be seen, leaving your winter garden to flourish unburdened by certain pests. Also, the ripe produce you’ve already grown will essentially be refrigerated out there for a far longer time before you decide to harvest.

This is a major relief for some, as many of us can be seen scurrying around the garden picking off all the tomatoes before the dreaded first frosts, only to realize a few weeks later that they all rotted on our shelves before we could get to them. So, leave the tomatoes where they belong — on the vines.

2. Take Precautions

To ensure your vegetables and fruits are in prime condition to manage to the frosts, you might want to plant your winter garden in mid to late summer. This way, your plants will be robust, healthful and resilient as the first frost approaches. Even sowing seeds after early frost can see radishes, turnips, lettuces and other greens flourish.

There will be some aesthetic damage from the frost, but this will mostly be confined to the upper foliage of your fruits and vegetable bushes, trees and leaves. Your harvest will not be affected by this superficial frosting. However, there are some tricks to the knack of producing such a luscious collection in these colder months:

• Choose to grow tomatoes that sprawl as opposed to staking the rising and tall ones
• Grow your cucumbers on the ground, not on trellises
• Go for bush peas and beans, not climbing options
• Encourage a protective ecosystem to develop by planting a closely packed garden
• Stop pulling weeds from your veggie patch to allow further shelter from the leaves
• Plant your more vulnerable crops on the south side of your house — the property should fend off damaging northern winds
• Schedule sprinklers to come on at night to aid your plants through frosty temperatures
• At the worst of temperatures, cover your plants with boxes, newspapers or straw

3. Don’t Expect a Miracle

Occasionally, we do have harsh and damaging winter weather. If the frost is relentless and protection hasn’t sufficed, then it’s OK to start harvesting everything. Green tomatoes should be wrapped in newspapers by themselves, one at a time. Stack them in boxes and keep in a cool room to reduce moisture and allow them to ripen naturally.

Radishes can be steamed and frozen to use in stews, and so can turnips. Carrots, on the other hand, should be left in the ground and covered with the thickest mulch you can get your hands on. The roots won’t freeze, and you’ll be looking at the sweetest carrots going mid-winter.

Gardening all year-round is like a new lease of life. The results are as impressive and rewarding — if not more so — than your spring and summer harvests.

Giving Your Garden a Boost with Cold-Weather Perennials

While some of us may have harvested the last of our autumn crops already, that doesn’t mean we’re done gardening for the year. Even without weeds to pull or produce to collect, there’s a lot of work that goes into readying your garden to weather the winter.

The effort you put into your garden in fall can be utilized for more than one purpose. In the midst of trimming, mulching, and weeding, consider the opportunity to add perennials to your landscape. You’ll reap benefits year-round as the plants continue to mature and minimize your garden workload, along with providing a host of benefits to your annuals and the soil they reside in.

leaf covered in frost
Photo by Pexels/Richard Fletcher

Winterizing Your Garden

Before you close up shop on your garden for the season, you should do a final pass through and remove any unwanted or dead plants and debris. Get rid of any lingering weeds, remove stalks that won’t be fruitful come spring, and trim up any loose ends. Aesthetically, this will be more pleasing through the winter, and it’ll save you a lot of time through the spring.

If you have an herb garden in pots, or even in the ground, move them inside for the winter. By keeping perennial or biennial herbs indoors, you’ll have a supply of fresh herbs to cook with all season long. Some perennial herbs may be hardy enough to survive winter outdoors.

Protect any of your existing perennials that may not survive frozen ground by (carefully) digging them up. Bulbs should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place through the winter until it’s time for them to be replanted. Understanding what USDA growing zone you live in will help you determine what plants need to brought indoors.

Add a layer of mulch or compost to the top of your garden. Not only will mulch provide nutrients throughout the winter, but the extra layer will help to insulate the ground from temperature swings throughout the winter, creating a more stable environment for any wintering plants.

If you don’t yet have perennials in your garden, consider rototilling a layer of compost into the soil prior to putting down a layer of mulch. Leaving compost in the ground all winter allows plenty of time for the mixture to break down and release nutrients into the soil, giving you a jump on next year’s prep.

flowers blooming
Photo by Pixabay/cocoparisienne

Perks of Perennials

While you’re going through the trouble of prepping your beds for a few months of frost (or snow, if you’re like me), you may as well put a little time and energy into making next spring easier on yourself.

Perennials can be the perfect way to ensure a fresh spring — and in some cases, a colorful winter, too — without all the work. Providing your garden with year-round plants not only does your schedule a favor, but it also benefits the health of your garden.

Over time, plants that return year after year will develop complex root systems that reach deep into the soil. This allows the plants to access deeper water and nutrient systems, and bring them up to higher soil levels for more plants to enjoy. Your annuals will thank you, and you won’t be spending as much time watering and fertilizing.

As the plants become more established, they’ll disappear less and less in the winter. The structure and vines they leave behind will provide protection against soil erosion, as well as shading the soil from wind. When the leaves fill in during spring and summer, the ground will be protected from dehydrating sunlight.

planting rows
Photo by Pexels/Binyamin Mellish

Perennials to Plant

For Ground Cover:

• Cypress bushes are evergreen plants that are wider than they are tall and are generally left alone by hungry deer.

• Creeping thyme is an aromatic perennial good for erosion control and strong enough to withstand being walked on.

• Ivy should be planted with caution due to its aggressive nature, but the climbing vines can also be used as ground cover.

For Easy Produce:

Herbs can yield all year round, allowing for dishes to taste garden fresh, even when all the ingredients aren’t.

Scarlet runner beans, rhubarb, and Jerusalem artichokes will weather the winter to come back and provide delicious yields in the spring.

Berry plants are hardy, compost-loving garden additions that give gardens great color (and sweetness) during harvest.

For Wintery Blooms:

• Hellebores, or Christmas Roses, provide bright blooms against dark leaves.

• Heather blooms year-round and provides nutrients for bees when other blossoms have faded.

• Crocus create a delicate silhouette as they open and close with the winter sun.


Devin roams the Pacific Northwest, looking for a place to plant his roots and commit to "serious" writing. Until then, you can find his words scattered across various web publications, proving his jack of all trades status, or you can just look at his Twitter.

Urban Gardening: Bringing Nature into the City and Food into Your Tummy

What is healthy, full of green leafy things, and lives in an apartment?

An urban garden!

Sure, your vegan neighbor also qualifies, but for the purposes of this article we’re focusing on plants — small ones, big ones, in different varieties and shapes, that can grow in the most urban of environments. Urban gardens have started to become a fixture in busy cities, and you’ll often find them in patches of earth between buildings, on rooftops, and even on apartment balconies.

balcony garden

The Roots of Urban Gardening

Gardening in the city isn’t an entirely new venture as many urban communities have been growing their own greens for years. In New York for example, the Bowery Houston Community Farm Garden holds the distinction of being the oldest community garden in the city, being established in late 1973.

The 70s were a tumultuous time for New Yorkers. The city was suffering a financial crisis, apartment buildings were falling down, and neighborhoods started declining, prompting people to seek better conditions elsewhere. Buildings were abandoned, and empty lots sat fallow and generally neglected. It was a bad, bleak time.

The community garden movement in New York was borne of a great desire to beautify the urban eyesores with greenery. The Green Guerillas, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserve urban gardens, began throwing “seed bombs” over fences to empty lots. These seed bombs were packed with seed, water, and fertilizer. A crafty and clever move, and it worked. Soon these vacant lots started growing life, and the greening of the city became not only an act of an environmental group but a grassroots program that fostered the participation of the entire neighborhood.

Liz Christy was the founder of the Green Guerillas. With the help of the Lower East Side community, Christy started greening the vacant lot at the northeast corner of Bowery and East Houston. Soon they were harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes, and hosting a diverse array of insects and birds.

News of the Green Guerillas’ exploits reached the other boroughs of the Big Apple and beyond. Community gardens began sprouting in earnest, and the local parks department started supporting urban gardening initiatives. After Christy’s death, the Bowery garden was renamed the Liz Christy Memorial Garden.

Today, New York’s urban gardens and farms not only grow nutritious food and encourage members of the community to come together and get their hands dirty, but also teach people about sustainability, expand awareness about climate change, and help those in need. And the movement is not confined to New York, either — other city dwellers in the United States, and in different countries around the world, have begun to create their own urban gardens, whether in an empty lot, rooftop, or even a window box.

You can grow your own urban garden too, no matter the size of your available space. If you need a little more convincing, here are more reasons to get started on creating your own patch of green amid the concrete.

urban garden

Top 10 Benefits of Having Your Own Urban Garden

1. An urban garden provides you with fresh and nutritious ingredients and is a great way to teach kids to eat their veggies!

2. Growing your own food reduces your risk of ingesting chemicals, which are usually in food bought from the supermarket. You have full control over what you eat!

3. Connecting with nature through gardening is a relaxing and rewarding activity that relieves stress, something that city dwellers experience often.

4. Growing plants in your home improves indoor air quality.

5. Growing your own food works out to be cheaper than buying produce at the grocery.

6. It decreases and may also eliminate food miles, or the distance from where food is grown to where it’s eaten.

7. It can be a source of income.

8. You can get funding from the government for starting your own urban gardening initiative.

9. You do your part in reducing waste because you do away with food packaging — simply harvest the greens that you need, wash them, and eat!

10. You contribute to food safety, especially when you share your bountiful harvest with the other members of the community.

connect with nature

Getting Started on Your Urban Garden

Any available space can be utilized to become a garden in the city, no matter how small. If the place you live in already has community gardens or urban farms nearby, sign up to take part in their gardening efforts. You can also create your own small-scale garden at home — here are some great urban gardening projects you can get started on today!

Indoor Gardening Tips

When growing your urban garden indoors, it’s best to plant vegetables that are productive and take up less space, such as peppers, tomatoes, beans, lettuce, carrots, and spinach. Choose your favorites and grow them in abundance!

• Choose a space that gets morning sun — as little as two hours will suffice.

• Use a certified organic potting mix for best results.

• Start small — some of the easiest plants to grow are tomatoes, beans, and herbs such as parsley, basil, rosemary, and mint.

• Container gardening lets you grow healthy food in pots, empty tin cans, and just about anything that can hold a bit of soil and have drainage holes (you can make these yourself!).

• No horizontal space? No problem! You can try out window or vertical farming to make the most of the space you do have. A vertical garden system by the window, patio, or a wall that gets sunlight has a reservoir at the bottom that collects the water that is not absorbed by the plants and pumps the water back up.

• If all the available space you have is a window ledge, don’t worry — you can grow a windowsill garden instead.

• When growing from seeds, do your research or ask your local gardeners about the seeds that grow best in your area.

• Join a local urban gardening group to learn more about indoor gardening, swap seeds and seedlings, and get advice from fellow urban gardeners.

• Recycle as much as you can by using plastic bottles and other discarded materials.

garden space

Hydroponic, Aeroponic, and Aquaponic Gardening: The Basics

Gardening technology has also brought us hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic methods of growing food. Here’s a quick look at what these “soilless” gardening methods are to entice you to learn more about them and try them out in your urban gardening efforts.

Hydroponic GardeningHydroponics makes use of water with nutrients to grow plants.

Aeroponic GardeningAeroponics involves growing plants in an air/mist environment, requiring very little water and no soil.

Aquaponic Gardening — two in one! In aquaponics, you grow both plants and fish and use the waste from one to feed the other. To illustrate, you use fish excrement as plant fertilizer, and water waste from the plants (as well as some green bits) feed the fish.

So, when are you getting started on your urban garden? Which plants are you most interested in growing? Let us know!

Photos by Shutterstock.


Sharon Delaney is an aspiring writer. Her favorite topics are home design, gardening, and DIY projects. When she has free time, she tends to her front-yard garden. She dreams of becoming a famous landscaper someday.

Native Plants for Easy Container Gardening

Whether you want to add some decorative pieces to a space or continue your gardening practice in a simplified manner, container gardening is an excellent way to do so. The containers themselves make for lovely accents for patios, porches, steps or anywhere you want some extra color. The best container gardens are the ones that are low maintenance.

Low maintenance container gardening means using plants that only need to be occasionally watered, and maybe some deadheading done to get the best look. The maintenance of the plant also requires little work. Plus, if you use native plants to where you live, the upkeep is even less because the plants are adapted to that area.

There is a reason for wanting plants which are low maintenance for container gardening. Low maintenance plants are perfect for people who love flowers but don't have a lot of time to take care of them. They’re also great for seniors who may not move around well, as well as being perfect for people who like gardening but don't have a lot of room around the home.

There are endless options, depending on your location, when it comes to choosing plants for your containers. The plants below are only a few of the ones you can choose which are native to the specified hardiness zone listed with them. This means that they will do well in those zones, in containers, if the proper care is provided.

echinacea plant information
Photo courtesy 
LawnStarter

1. Echinacea

Also known as purple coneflower, this robust and attractive plant can be grown in containers as well as in your garden. It's a native of the central and southeastern United States. These plants can grow 2-5 feet high and up to two feet wide. The soil needs to be well-drained and echinacea loves full sun, as well as partial shade. Coneflowers will attract bees, butterflies, and birds. They come in an assortment of colors such as purple, crimson, pink, yellow, white, orange and; believe it or not, green.

2. Japanese Pieris

This is an excellent shrub to grow in a container and its deer resistant. It’s an evergreen, but likes all seasons. The spring growth varies from glossy red to a salmon pink before turning to a creamy white. The flower buds in the winter are dark red with shades of pink. The bloom in the spring is urn-shaped which is white, with a hint of scent. The branches of this shrub will drape gracefully over the edges of a container. It will grow in Zones 6-8, so check your Hardiness Zone before purchasing them.

3. Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses can be grown in containers in Hardiness Zones 3-10 depending on which grass you plant. For example, Bamboo Muhly can be grown in containers in Zones 8-11 which is the southern half of the United States. While, Blue Lyme grass grows in Zones 4-10. Check what zone you live in before purchasing an ornamental grass for your container.

desert savior succulent plant information
Photo courtesy LawnStarter

4. Succulents

A few examples of succulents are aloe, sedums, cacti, and smaller ornamental ones such as, the desert savior. These plants grow in Hardiness Zone 3-9 and are native to dry, desert climates, which you need to mimic as best as you can in your containers. These plants need less water than most in containers, as long as the containers aren't clay since clay pots dry out too quickly. Succulents actually do better with a bit of neglect; it's better to underwater them than to overwater them. If they are overwatered, succulents will get mushy and rot. When they appear a tad limp, then they need to be watered.

5. Fuldaglut Sedum

This plant will grow in Zones 4-9 and has bronze-red leaves which turn to red in the winter. It will grow in partial shade, but it loves full sun. It does have larger leaves than most sedums do. Its scalloped foliage gives it a delicate appearance. The flower bloom will last about three weeks in the summer. The plant is about 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide and looks lovely as a cut flower in a small bouquet.

Container gardening can be just as rewarding as planting in a larger garden plot. Just make sure that you choose plants for your container that will grow in your location’s climate, or bring your gardening indoors.


References:

Birds and Blooms
Houzz
Fine Gardening

Preparing Your Garden for Cold Weather

When winter comes around, it might be tempting to let everything go dormant — from your garden, to your compost, to productivity, to anything that requires you to step outside into the frigid weather. Personally, if I had the choice, I would prefer all chores to be done for me while I lay cozy in bed until spring rolls around again — but unless you’re a grizzly bear, that’s not really an option.

Getting things in order before the snow falls, however, is the best way to make sure winter gardening goes off without a hitch — not to mention, a better chance at success when everything comes back to life again in a few months when the weather starts to warm up again.

compost bin
Photo by Pixabay

Composting

Because food scraps don’t stop when it starts getting cold outside, keeping a compost pile or bin during the winter might take a little more effort than during the warmer months, but you’ll still be able to rest well knowing leftovers from the kitchen aren’t just going to waste in the trash bin.

One of your first steps is making sure the compost bin is airtight to allow the microbes inside to remain warm and active. If they freeze, not only will it slow down the composting process and possibly kill the necessary microbes, leaving you with a frozen block of scraps until spring comes around to thaw them out. Be sure to avoid allowing snow and other unnecessary moisture into the bin, and the chemical reactions inside will keep themselves warm.

dead leaves on tree branch
Photo by Pixabay

Second, be sure you’re balancing “green” scraps (nitrogen) and “brown” scraps (carbon). EarthEasy.com describes how you can use dead, dry leaves from fall as sources of carbon to balance out the nitrogen of the kitchen scraps, and offers methods for keeping your leaves dry and crunchy throughout the cold season. Not only do the leaves provide a balance to the chemical reactions occurring inside, they also help absorb any extra moisture that would otherwise leave your compost soggy and useless.

Some people also opt for an indoor compost bin, located somewhere out of the way like the garage. This way, you’re not forced to brave the cold to deposit scraps or turn the already-existing compost. However, indoor bins like these can cause some of their own problems, namely, an unwelcome aroma, as well as the possibility of a messy floor. When it comes down to it, neither is necessarily a better choice than the other; it just depends on your personal preference.

small container garden
Photo by Pixabay

Preparing the Garden for Spring

Other than deciding whether or not you want to let your plants go to seed or clean up after them, there’s a lot more to be done than just letting the ground freeze and deciding you’ll pick up again only when it warms up.

While it’s fine to let most non-food garden plants go to seed and rest there over the winter, it’s another story for many fruits and vegetables you have perfectly lined up in garden rows: If you don’t clean up well enough at the end of the season, your garden risks contracting late blight, an infectious organic disease that can travel on the wind, even between neighboring gardens.

The blight is strong enough to survive through the winter, meaning it’s critical to cut away and quarantine, or dispose of all plants that might have been vulnerable to the disease, as to avoid any possible issues in the next season.

fallen dry leaves
Photo by Pixabay

After cleaning away dead plants, smooth out the remaining soil either by hand or with a portable rototiller, depending on the size of your plot. Next, spread a layer of new soil and/or mulch, to boost the garden’s nutrients for next spring.

The end of the season is also the best time to expand your garden, especially since you’ll be laying new soil anyway, so take some time to decide if you think you’ll be planting more, or new things come spring. You might also consider planting some winter cover crops, which are sown in fall and then harvested in the oncoming spring.

Don’t forget to gather as many fallen leaves as possible for your garden’s mulch layer, as well as for your wintertime compost stock — chances are you’ll have plenty lying around, so don’t wait until the last minute. The leaves might go soggy any day now, which makes them useless for storage!

kale in green smoothie
Photo by Pixabay

Enjoying a Mini Indoor Garden

Falling snow doesn’t mean the end to gardening — at least, not completely. When your large plot outside hibernates for the winter, consider growing another indoors to keep you company. Smaller plants, ranging from basil to green onions, make perfect indoor companions and mean you’ll have plenty of fresh herbs and spices to use on the stored harvest from the outdoor garden.

Even if you don’t want to go the route of growing more vegetables or fruits, consider a small family of succulents, flowers, or other easy-to-grow plants, to remind you of the warmer weather to come again. Especially if you suffer from illnesses such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) brought on by the low light of winter, keeping plants indoors is proven to help boosts spirits, even if just a little bit, just like keeping a larger plot during the warmer months can help ease things like depression and anxiety!

fresh produce
Photo by Pixabay

Whether you choose to take a break during the winter months like a grizzly bear, or continue on your journey of composting, gardening, and preparing for spring, there’s so much you can do — even during the cold months to keep your thumb green. Those things could range anywhere from growing things indoors with you where it’s warm, to dreaming of the things you’ll plant in a few months when the sun comes out again.

Either way, it’s a time to appreciate all the work you did the season prior, and enjoy your harvest of tasty, fresh fruits and vegetables!


Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking for where his next trip will take him. When he's not traveling the world, he's writing articles on all the new things he learns!

Make a Gorgeous Garden with Landscape Design

When it comes to garden décor and landscaping, many people like to take things into their own hands, which seems to be fine considering that you are aware of some of the basic principles of landscaping. However, it should be remembered that these landscape design tips would help you in not only demarcating boundaries and getting a gorgeous garden, but also helps with easier maintenance in the long run.

backyard landscape
Photo by Shutterstock

Ensure Clear Boundaries

One of the most critical mistakes of landscape design would be not adhering to boundaries. Do remember that like the rest of your home, your outdoor area needs to be divided via physical or even some decorative boundaries. This is important because you do not want areas to get interconnected and then end up with trouble fixing them. For example, if the patio area is covered with too much grass on the sides, then it will mean cleaning hassles and the inflow of insects and other elements into your home. Hence, you need to strike a balance between restricting areas and letting them interconnect. Here are ideas that can help:

• Reduce the clutter on the patio from there on making sure that the landscape design is more about plants and other decorative elements.
• You can encircle a driveway turn around with a path or fountain, if space permits.
• Do not merge too many things, as it would seem a mess. Let each landscape design stand on its own while maintaining a flow.

stone walkway
Photo by Shutterstock

Regulating the Line

There is an important feature in landscape design, but do not worry: it is not something that you cannot handle. It implies that any kind of architectural elements, like the door or the foyer, help create an imaginary boundary. This is particularly useful in outdoor areas and landscape design.

For example:

• You can have a prominent tree as a landscape feature and place a bench underneath for lounging.
• In the same way, having boulders along the driveway is not an interruptive feature, but helps mark the boundaries subtly.
• Along the way to the swimming pool, if you do not want any balustrades then opt for a natural stone, which is slightly elevated and can then, also, move on to the garden.

These are just a few simple ideas on landscape design. Along with this, here are some other principles that you should try to follow:

• Get the proportions right. Unless you are confident with the imaginary design, you may end up with a piece that is shoddy looking rather than gorgeous.
• Also, try to start with smaller scale projects instead of renovating the entire place at once. For instance, you can start with the flower bed, then move on to simple ideas like a stone bench or even using pebbles to set up a Zen garden. Later, move on to driveway renovation and other larger areas.

Ensure that you have a plan in mind regarding your budget and all that you want to do. This will help you delegate and devote time to each section as per your requirements. Moreover, gradually, you will be able to create that perfect landscape design that you’ve always wanted without having to spend a lot on hiring experts and professionals landscape designer.


Adam Wilson is a writer who shares his experience by providing valuable information about home improvement, business, health, automotive and fashion subjects in order to help readers gain more awareness. He also loves to help people grow their visibility online. Follow Adam on Twitter or Google+.

8 Homemade Insecticides to Save Your Indoor Garden

Indoor plants bring life to your home; however, it is imperative that you take proper care of your favorite plants to ensure that they thrive. One of the biggest challenges that your garden faces is an infestation. While insecticides work miracles in relieving your plants of annoying pests, it is important for you to choose your options very carefully.

Harmful chemicals commonly sold at your local drug store not only kill pests but also harm the overall health of your family. Therefore, it is suggested that you choose a healthier alternative and rely on homemade insecticides that are safer, cheaper and, interestingly enough, more effective. Here are eight natural homemade insecticide sprays that you can use to make your indoor garden a bug-free zone.

indoor plants and decor
Photo by Adobe Stock/
Photographee.eu

Soap Spray

Soap spray is a very easy to create, yet a very effective insecticide for getting rid of beetles, whiteflies, mites, and aphids.

• 1-1/2 teaspoons of any mild liquid soap
• 4 cups of water

Mix the liquid soap with the water, pour in a spray bottle and spray the mixture directly on your indoor plants to keep them free of any hungry insects.

Oil Spray

The oil spray is very effective in taking down armies of insects such as mites, thrips, etc. by forming a thick coat on the bodies of the insect and causing them to die of suffocation.

• 1 cup of vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon of any mild liquid soap
• 4 cups of water

Mix the ingredients, pour in a spray bottle and shake well. Sprinkle the mixture on your plants and enjoy an insect free garden.

Rodale's Organic Life’s Safe and Efficient Spray

• 1 bulb of garlic
• 1 onion (small)
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
• 1 tablespoon of liquid soap
• 4 glasses of water

Chop, grind and puree the garlic and onion. Add the cayenne pepper and let the mixture steep for about an hour. Strain the mixture, add the liquid soap and mix. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and apply it on the upper surfaces and undersides of the leaves of your plants. Store the remainder of Rodale's Organic Life Spray in the refrigerator. 

Neem Oil Spray

Apart from vegetable oil based sprays, neem oil spray works wonders in repelling aphids, mites, scale and other insects. Here is what you need to create your very own neem spray:

• 2 teaspoons neem oil
• 1 teaspoon mild liquid soap
• 4 glasses of water

Add the three ingredients, mix well and spray the mixture on affected plants or the entire garden as a precautionary measure to prevent your precious darlings from getting infested.

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is an excellent insect repellent and is effective on wide range of pests. This spray can be made with a variety of peppers including black pepper, chili pepper, dill, ginger, and paprika to fight mites and other pests.

• 2 tablespoons red pepper
• 6 drops of mild dish soap
• 1 gallon of water

Mix the ingredients and sprinkle the solution on the plants as needed to get rid of unwanted insects.

Pyrethrum Spray

• Handful of dried chrysanthemum flowers
• 4 drops of mild dish soap
• 4 glasses of water

Grind the dried chrysanthemum flowers, add water and dish soap to create the mixture for the spray. Sprinkle the mixture on both the top and bottom surfaces of the leaves during the evening to ensure maximum efficiency. This late afternoon shower usually brings the insects out of the hiding and kills them.

Homemade Herbal Spray

• Handful of any heavily scented herb
• 1/2 gallon of water
• 3 drops of gentle dish soap

Crush your selected herb, and place it inside a mesh sack. Pour water into a bucket, put the mesh in it and leave the bucket out in the sun for around four to six days. Remove the herb pocket from the liquid and pour the mixture into a spray bottle and add the dish soap. Shake the bottle well before coating your houseplants generously with the mix.

Vinegar Spray

• 1 cup vinegar
• 3 cups water
• 4 drops of mild liquid soap

Start by combining the water and vinegar and then add in soap. Stir the mixture, pour in a plastic spray bottle and shake well. Spray well on your plants.

If you’re concerned about your family’s health, then chances are you only buy fruits and vegetables that haven’t been exposed to pesticides and other chemical applicators. The same ‘chemical free’ approach should be used for your home garden. These eight very easy to create homemade solutions protect your indoor plants from pests. They also ensure that your family remains safe from harm often caused by off-the-shelf insecticides that are not only expensive and ineffective, but also toxic to health.