Natural Ways to Get Pests to Bug Off

Summer is in full swing and that means spending your days outside enjoying the weather. You’ve created the perfect gathering space. Your garden is in tip-top shape. You’ve mastered your favorite dishes on the grill. So don’t let pesky bugs ruin all your fun. Harsh chemicals and ugly traps can deter anyone from fixing their pest problem. We get it. And that’s why we’ve got great all-natural solutions to send those annoying critters marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah.

Spray the Pests Away
Try an easy, natural spray for all your pest control problems – from snails and slugs to flower-eating insects. We recommend choosing one that is OMRI certified, which means it is certified organic and non-GMO. You can also try an organic insect-killing soap to get rid of unwanted insects naturally without killing the good ones. If you want to go a step further, tackle multiple problems at once with an organic, all-in-one insecticide, miticide, and fungicide to kill all stages of insects.

Get a Little Lucky
They say when a ladybug lands on you, it’s good luck. The same is true for your garden. Keep live ladybugs in your yard to protect your flowers and shrubs from aphids, bugs, and worms without any harsh chemicals. This way you don’t have to worry about your pets or kids being exposed to harmful synthetic substances, and you can enjoy having these bright little creatures right in your own backyard.

Rid Your Home of Rodents
Rodents are not only unwanted pests – they can carry dangerous diseases. Protect your family and pets from moles, gophers, rats, and mice the ultrasonic way. Ultrasonic rodent repellent devices work by emitting high frequency sound waves that cannot be heard by humans or animals of the non-rodent variety. You can place these sound wave generators inside or outside as a humane way to keep rodents at bay.

Manage Those Mosquitos (and Flies)
Nothing is more annoying than a mosquito buzzing in your ear or a fly landing on your food. Traditional mosquito and fly management methods can be harsh and unappealing to the eye, but we’ve got a few all-natural solutions that will also enhance your backyard décor. Try a trendy citronella candle and make a style statement while you repel mosquitoes. Or plant lavender around your yard – mosquitoes hate the smell, but to humans it can be relaxing and fragrant. Flies are obnoxious, but fly traps don’t have to be. Try placing a few decorative fly traps around to discreetly collect bothersome flies with a non-toxic formula.

Whatever your pest problem may be, choosing an all-natural solution is the safest option for your family and pets. Got a more specific problem? Don’t hesitate to stop by your neighborhood Orchard Supply Hardware and we’ll be happy to help you solve it. Wishing you the happiest, pest-free days this summer.

4th of July Paint Stick Flag

Fly Your Flag

What better way to celebrate your independence this 4th of July than by making your own flag? This project is easy and won’t take all day. It’s even fun to do with the kids. We suggest customizing it a bit. Think about an alternative for the stars (perhaps bolts, starfish, beads or gems). For a polished look, finish with a coat of varnish. Or if you live by the beach, sand paper will give it that weathered look. Have fun. Be creative. Make it yours.

Supplies:
• 12 Orchard Paint Sticks
• Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Spray Paint (red, white, blue)
• 3M Scotch Painter’s Tape
• Gorilla Wood Glue
• Items for Stars: metal washers, buttons, seashells, your child’s handprint, you decide!
• Steel Wool or Sand Paper
• Twine
• Xacto Knife
• Tape Measure or Ruler
• Cardboard (for painting surface)


Let’s Get Started

1) Cut three of your sticks at 14”. Be sure to cut the handles off so they are nice, squared up rectangles. Put them aside for now, we will use these on the back to hold everything together.

2) Using spray paint, paint 5 sticks red and 4 white. Be sure to paint around the edges slightly, but don’t paint the backs. Separate each stick from each other and allow to dry.

3) While you wait, gather your stars. Be creative with it. We’ll use metal washers and buttons in different sizes, but consider using something unconventional, like seashells or your child’s handprint.

4) When your sticks are dry, flip them over and line them up, making sure they alternate red-white-red-white, etc. Create a little space between each stick. Place a dot of wood glue on each stick in three straight rows. Attach the cut paint sticks vertically on top of the wood glue and let dry.

5) Flip your flag over. Put a line of tape approximately 8 inches from the left of the top four sticks, tape off everything from the 6th stick down. Spray this area blue and let dry.

You’re almost done!

6) If you like a weathered look, use steel wool or sand paper and run it along each of the four edges.

7) Attach your stars with glue.

8) Tie your twine through the first stick, tying a knot on the left side and the right side to create a hanging loop.

Now fly your flag with pride and have a Happy 4th of July.



Independence Day Your Way.

Summer’s most memorable holiday is coming up and you might be surprised at how easy it is to create an unforgettable 4th of July in your own back yard. From the little details to the simple essentials, here are our tips to make your party easy, happy, and oh-so-American.

Set the Stage for Celebration

Throwing the best 4th of July party is all about setting the right mood. Surround your guests with Americana décor and celebrate why you’re proud to be an American. Add a little American charm with classic Adirondack chairs, and update your patio pillows so your guests can relax in style. Liven up your table settings with red, white and blue napkins and festive plates to spread the charm.

Americana All Over

Why not embrace the Americana spirit from floor to ceiling? Start by livening up your porch. Grab a plain coir doormat, tape off stripes or a pattern of your choice, and brush on some red, white and blue latex paint. Next, sprinkle decorative American flags anywhere and everywhere. Stick them in your plants, put them in drinks, or even in mason jars filled with red, white and blue candy for Americana-style centerpieces. Super simple, but your guests will eat it up!

Raise a Glass (or a popsicle) for Independence

Add a splash of patriotism and keep your drinks cold in the summer heat with fruity, festive ice cubes. Fill a few ice trays with water and drop blueberries and raspberries in to each cube. You can do the same with the kiddos by making your own popsicles too. Once frozen, keep everything cold with an ice bucket or add a little retro style with this Coca Cola cooler. It’s a fun conversation starter and keeps the Americana theme rolling.

But just keep in mind, throwing the best Independence Day celebration doesn’t have to be complicated. At the end of the day the most important thing is taking this opportunity to get together with friends, family and loved ones. No matter how you decide to celebrate or decorate, your neighbors at Orchard are here to help and wish you a very Happy 4th of July!

Charcoal vs. Gas vs. Smoker: Which One Is Right For You?

 

An outdoor summer staple, grilling allows you to enjoy the sunshine and make healthy, yummy meals for your friends and family. Whether you’ve been grilling for years or are new to the game, chances are you have a favorite kind of grill. But if you’ve ever wondered about branching out, here’s our simple comparison of charcoal, gas, and smoker grills. And with the 4th of July just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to mix it up and try something new.

                                                         

Charcoal

best charcoal grills under 500

 

Charcoal grills arguably give you the most authentic grilling experience. Lighting the charcoal, watching the fire grow, and waiting until the grill is hot enough to get cooking is all part of the fun. While these grills do tend to be the smokiest, charcoal lovers claim this actually makes the food more flavorful. These grills are often smaller and more portable than their gas and smoker cousins. And if you want the flavor but don’t like waiting for the coals to heat up, try a chimney charcoal starter to cut the time in half.

 

Gas

Mission Grill

Gas grills light quickly and easily with the use of propane, reducing the amount of time you have to spend waiting to cook your meal. These grills maintain a consistent temperature, which takes the guesswork out of cooking and makes the overall process easier. Cooking with a gas grill tends to go faster, and the minimal amount of smoke means you won’t walk away smelling like a campfire.

 

Smokers

traeger

If you’re craving a different experience that could churn out some of your new favorite dishes, consider trying a smoker. While they may take longer to cook and don’t offer the same cooking-over-an-open-flame experience, meats tend to be juicier and more flavorful when smoked. And smokers can also be a great option for cooking desserts like an apple pie or peach cobbler.

Whatever your grilling preference may be, it can be fun to explore other options every once in a while! Who knows, you may get hooked on a new method just in time for that 4th of July party.

Summer prep in 1, 2, 3…

The first official day of summer is upon us and you know what that means – more fun in the sun! But sometimes summer entertaining can turn out to be far more taxing than it is relaxing – so why not pick this weekend to do a few things to make your outdoor space ready for any occasion? These three tips will help make sure you’re stressing less and entertaining more.

1. Create Conversation Nooks

The grill, the appetizer table, the drink station…these are all popular spots for your guests to hang out during summer barbecues. But take a look at where you might want them to mingle. Create gathering areas; make them big enough to be social but quaint enough to be cozy. Whether it’s chat sets for small spaces, dining tables where you can enjoy a meal or a board game, or lounge sets for conversations lasting into the night, just thinking about the function of each space can help you adjust outdoor furniture appropriately. Already have a patio set? Consider upgrading your outdoor patio cushions. You’d be surprised how inviting a fresh set of seat cushions will be on last year’s furniture.

2. Make an Outdoor Kitchen

Don’t have a built in grilling station outside? No problem. It’s easy to setup an outdoor kitchen – from grills to smokers or even an outdoor pizza oven, you just need to designate a space for the cooking magic to happen! Throw in a shade-friendly gazebo and you’ll have a perfect spot for people to chat up the grill master. Add an outdoor folding table for prepping, a spot for grill accessories and a patio cooler to keep some cold drinks handy, and your chef will be one happy griller! Of course if you want an all-in-one, a grill gazebo might be the ticket. Either way, it doesn’t take much to take your cooking outside.

3. Set the Mood for Entertaining

Outdoor lawn games, pool toys, drink stations…they all help create an inviting and entertaining addition to your summer party. Whether it’s setting up different areas for a bean bag toss, giant checkers or croquet, games are sure to be a hit for kids of all ages. Then think about placing different tubs around for guests to quickly grab a drink – galvanized steel tubs can denote adults-only beverages and colored rope handled tubs can hold child-friendly options. And don’t forget to add ambiance with charming string lights, lanterns, candles or solar-powered path lights. Fire pits also help light up the night and are perfect for smores!

Once you realize how simple these little projects can be, you’ll probably see tons of opportunities to update your outdoor living space. And your neighbors at Orchard are always here to help. After all, summer is all about being outside– so let’s get you out there enjoying the season!