Organic gardening has many benefits. At the top of that list is avoiding the chemicals present in pesticides, which are regularly used in non-organic gardening. Not being able to use pesticides on a garden, however, can present a challenge to organic gardeners when trying to keep away garden-loving insects. A few common household substances can be used for organic pest control, including vinegar.
While both white and apple cider vinegars are effective at eliminating garden pests, white vinegar is generally cheaper than apple cider vinegar, so it’s your best option if you want to save some money. To create a vinegar spray that works on garden insects, combine three parts water with one part vinegar in a spray bottle and add a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent. Swirl in the spray bottle to mix the contents thoroughly before use on the garden.
A vinegar spray can ward off several different species of insect. Slugs, moths and ants are just a few of the vinegar-phobic pests in your garden. Once your vinegar solution is mixed up, spray only the leaves of your garden plants about once each week. You can also create an invisible wall for those insects that crawl into the garden by spraying around the garden’s perimeter.
When used in slightly higher concentrations, vinegar can also serve as an effective weed killer in your garden. Mix a 50-50 vinegar-to-water solution in a spray bottle and spray directly on weeds growing nearby. Vinegar is also a deterrent to grass growth and can kill grass anywhere that you need to eliminate, such as grass growing up through cracks in your walkway.
Danger of Using Vinegar in the Garden
Vinegar is the most potent when used on weeds and grass, but it’s acidic enough to harm some of the other plants in your garden as well. Avoid spraying vinegar directly on your vegetables or flowers. As long as you are using the more diluted solution, the mist from the vinegar shouldn’t harm your garden's plants, but, if the solution isn’t working to get rid of insects, don’t increase the amount of vinegar you use.
Vinegar is so effective at eliminating garden pests that vinegar-based sprays are now being manufactured exclusively for use in yards and gardens. These sprays are very strong, up to 1,000 times the strength of household vinegar, and kill everything, both insects and plants. They should be used only on extremely infested gardens that are already a lost cause.