Condiments and Coffee

Still the plant catalogues are falling through the letter box, advertising plants, seeds and many gifts to give a friendly gardener. I have tried many of their products between encouraging plants to grow and something to scare away the enemies. You can tot up quite a bit between all the deterrents, none of which seem to work in my garden.


Simple solutions can be made from store cupboard ingredients. I used a spray with water and washing-up liquid to rid plants of aphids. Garlic water doesn’t appeal to slugs, so spray it on their favourite plants and they should steer clear of it and if not, salt will dispatch them fairly quickly.

Garlic drying

Vinegar can be used to freshen clay pots, deter ants and other pests, and of course you can put it on chips – to kill the weeds.

Salt speeds up the demise of slugs and snails, just a good pinch is enough.

Pepper is not to be sniffed at either. It’s antibacterial properties, which are good for plants, help protect them in the soil and by absorption. pet-sneezingMix ground pepper with water and spray plants or sprinkle some on the leaves. It deters ants. It is also likely to deter cats and dogs as they won’t want a nose full of pepper, although I don’t expect it will put their sniffing out of use for long.

Corn meal (polenta) is attractive to ants but they can’t digest it, sadly though they would starve to death.

Chilli powder should deter unwanted animals such as cats and dogs. It wochillin’t do them any harm but getting some on their little paws, they will know about it when they complete their ablutions and hopefully identify it with the place as not being a nice to go to and won’t go back. Also a good idea to use if thieving squirrels steal peanuts meant for the birds. The birds will be happy about that, their tastreceptors don’t seem to be affected by chilli and probably sit with smiles on their beaks, watching the little moggies or squirrels hang their tongues out to cool. 

Bleach is another product which is very useful in the garden. Not just as a weedkiller but a little cheap bleach in a watering can to spray slabs or gravel and it should work wonders once the sun gets to it and it dries, they will be gleaming in no time.

Garlic spray, there are plenty of recipes on the internet for garlic spray. It’s easy to make, and sprayed over hostas should keep many slugs away. This is one recipe.

Famous name coffee shops often have bags of used coffee grains for customers to help themselves to for use in the garden, it helps to add nitrogen to the soil. I have used cold tea to water houseplants with as well as the water from boiling eggs. No point in wasting the nutrients in them. If using teabags in compost then you should check that the bag itself is compostable and not polypropylene, which is not.

As home-made recipes don’t have added preservatives, and the effects of some can wear off faster than commercial products. You may have to re-apply after two or three days or after rain. However, before to reach for your wallet and splash out on expensive chemical solutions, check your store cupboard. The internet is full of ideas on alternative and natural applications so is worth giving them a go first.


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