Right outside our back gate is a little boy's wonderland; a dense forest ripe with explorations and adventures.The thick tangles of underbrush cascade down into a stone lined stream with crawdads and minnows.
But it is nowhere near as serene as these words make it seem. The pools that collect along our lazy stream are teaming with mosquitoes which quickly find their way up and over our back gate.
The abundance of that promising meal bring unnaturally large man-eating spiders by the millions, pouring under fence and foundations, claiming backyard real estate under our benches, swings, grill, and doorways.
Slugs and snails have fought valiantly and laid claim to their own little oasis, my garden. And I'd be amiss if I left out the wasps and bees which have been hard at work boring into deck boards and fencing creating tidy little homes for their sting-happy families.
After bites, stings, eaten plants, destroyed wood, close encounters, and my boys confusing the dense layer of weeds with real grass it was time to go head to head with nature. With the help of Pinterest believe it or not, we saved our backyard and are living happily outdoors without expensive treatments or harmful chemicals.
First, I've saved my garden from slugs and snails by spreading each morning's coffee grounds on the soil around my plants. The abrasive surface restricts their progress towards making my produce their dinner. For my containers I lined the edges with petroleum jelly which they (and other bugs) can't climb up and through.
Wasps, bees, spiders, and mosquitoes are not a fan of peppermint. A few drops of peppermint oil mixed with water in a squirt bottle has cleared our corner of the great outdoors of these unwelcomed guests. Because it's completely safe and non-toxic I can spray it on play areas, swings, doors, thresholds, benches, etc and they stay bug free.
Weeds have also hit the road making way for real grass with this recipe I found. Just like in the link, I sprayed in the morning and by that evening they were gone and have not come back. Our brick walkway is no longer boasting stubborn sprouts through the cracks either.
This summer has taken a whole new direction with backyard fun now that I don't have to worry about one of the boys being carried away by a rogue arachnid army. So thank you Pinterest for saving our yard.