From baking soda to beer, everything you need to keep pests (and chemicals) out of your garden, is at your fingertips.


Mix ¼ cup of icing sugar with one tablespoon of borax and sprinkle where ants hang out. The worker ants will take the powder back to the nest and the nest will be eliminated. Keep the borax away from children and pets.


Get rid of these little sap-suckers by mixing three tablespoons of soap flakes or two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid in four litres of water, then spray your infested plant in the early morning or late afternoon once a week.

Not just for deterring vampires, garlic also keeps aphids at bay. Mix four garlic cloves, one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 500ml of water in a blender, then strain through a fine cloth. To help the spray stay on the foliage, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the mix. Spray in the early morning or late afternoon once a week.

You can also spray the affected plant with a short, sharp jet of water. For small or delicate plants, place your hand behind that part of the plant to be sprayed so it’s not damaged.

Black spot on roses

Cure roses of black spot with a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and five litres of water, sprayed once a week early in the morning.


Mix a tablespoon of molasses and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid (or liquid soap) with a litre of warm water. Once cool, spray the mix regularly over the leaves, top and bottom.

Codling moth

To control codling moth in fruit trees, hang a couple of open jars half-filled with sweet sherry around late September. This will attract the moths and they’ll die happy in the sherry before laying any eggs near your fruit. Change the sherry often for best results.


Terracotta pots filled with dry grass balanced upside down on a bamboo cane will attract earwigs. Empty the pot every few days. An even simpler method is take a roll of slightly damp newspaper and place it among plants under attack by earwigs. After, you can recycle the newspaper.

Mealy bugs

Try the soapy water method used for aphids, or for more targeted control, dab mealy bugs with matchsticks wrapped in cotton wool that's been soaked in methylated spirits.

Nematodes and cutworms

To deter nematodes and cutworms, dissolves three litres of molasses in four litres of water and pour the mixture onto the soil.

Possums and cats

Scattering moth balls around your garden will keep possums and cats away.

Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew can be controlled with a spray of one part cow’s milk to 10 parts water. Spray on top and below the leaves once a week during cooler periods of the day (or after rain), until the mildew has gone.


If you have a small amount of scale, scrape it off with your nail or a toothbrush. For a bigger scale problem, take two cups of vegetable oil and a cup of liquid soap and mix until it becomes white. Blend one tablespoon of the mixture with a litre of water and spray the affected area well. Do this when it's not too hot as the leaves may burn.

Slugs and snails

After your morning caffeine fix, take your leftover plunger or espresso coffee and dilute one part coffee to three parts water. Pour the mix into a spray bottle and spray the soil and leaves of your plants weekly, or after rain. Or try beer, which snails love. Simply pour some brew into an old plastic drink bottle and lay it on its side to entice them inside.

White fly

Control white fly by making your own yellow sticky traps, simply by taking a strip of plastic and covering it with Vaseline.