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Protect your Garden from Common Pests with help from the 2013 Garden Guide

May 27, 2013

Squirrel enjoying the afternoon

Credit: Shannon Hull
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As every new gardener soon learns, one of the garden’s biggest challenges are pests. The 2013 Old Farmer’s Almanac All-Seasons Garden Guide offers some tried-and-true advice on how to keep common pests from destroying everything green and growing. For example:

Aphids, which are also known as plant lice, suck out fluids from tender parts of plants, such as stems and leaves.

Get them out of the garden:

  • Spray leaves with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
  • Wipe or spray the leaves with a solution of water and a few drops of mild liquid dish soap.

Cutworms, which are not actually worms, hide under the soil during the day, but come out at night to feed on plants.

Get them out of the garden:

  • Sprinkle used coffee grounds around plants.
  • Circle stems with diatomaceous earth or crushed eggshells.


Deer are common pests all over the world. They live in every continent except Antarctica and Australia with a wide variety of species types. White-tailed and mule deer are among the most common types in North America.

Get them out of the garden:

  • Hang a smelly shoe on top of a stick in your garden.
  • Plant strong-flavored herbs, such as sage and parsley, and plants with hairy leaves.


Moles are found in most parts of North America and live most of their lives underground.

Get them out of the garden:

  • Mix equal parts castor oil and dish detergent. Use 4 tablespoons of this mixture in 1 gallon of water and soak the tunnels and entrances with it.
  • Spray your lawn with milky spore disease or parasitic nematodes to get rid of lawn grubs that moles eat.


Squirrels are many species in a large family that include tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, and prairie dogs.

Get them out of the garden:

  • Save orange and lemon rinds and bury them just under the surface of the soil. The rinds will discourage squirrels from digging.
  • Plant one or two cloves of garlic near your spring bulbs. Sprinkle garlic powder on the soil when plants are ready to bloom.


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Ginger Vaughan has worked for The Old Farmer's Almanac for over a decade and, every spring, thinks about starting a garden. When she isn't enjoying the outdoors (and pondering just where to plant that garden), she can often be found in the kitchen testing out new recipes. She lives in a Pacific Northwest forest on the Puget Sound with Thor and Olive, two English bulldogs who would like to taste test her cooking creations far more often than they are allowed. 


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Is it best to use castile

By Maureen M.

Is it best to use castile soap in the insecticide mixture instead of dish detergent? What will work for insects living in the soil? I have plants that have been out all summer and now want to bring them inside...any suggestions will be appreciated! Thank you.

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