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.

Make your own raised garden bed

Raised Garden Bed

By using raised garden beds, you can grow herbs, flowers, and vegetables almost anywhere you want. With a nice flat location, the right materials, and a few feet of space, you can have a garden in the perfect spot for sun, shade, and aesthetics.

There are plenty of advantages, too. For example, elevated garden beds can lengthen your growing season. Plants tend to grow a little bit easier since the soil in a raised bed is less compacted, and if the plants have an easier time growing, then they usually have a higher yield. And gardening with a raised bed can be much easier on your knees and your back than stooping over and kneeling on the ground.

Raised bed gardens sound amazing, right? We think so, too.

Now here’s the best part: They’re super easy to make. The directions below are for a raised bed that’s about 4-ft x 8-ft, and holds about 32-cu ft of soil (give or take) but you can make yours any size that fits your needs.


✓ Four 1-in x 6-in x 8-ft boards (side rails)

✓ Four 1-in x 6-in x 4-ft boards (head rails)

✓ Four foot-long 4×4 posts

✓ Four 2-in x 2-in x 18-in stakes

✓ Deck screws

✓ Planting soil


✓ Drill

✓ Shovel

✓ Safety gear (gloves, eyewear, etc.)

Raised Garden Bed Overview

Raised Garden Bed Overview

  • 1. First, build the side walls. On flat ground, line up the long side of one of the foot-long 4×4 posts perpendicular to the short edge of a side rail so that it makes an L-shape. Fasten them together with the deck screws. Repeat with another post on the other edge of the side rail.
  • 2. Next attach another side rail piece above the first one so that you have a foot-high wall with the posts at the edges (make sure everything’s neatly lined up!) Repeat to build a second wall.
  • 3. Now, let’s build the head walls. Stand the side walls upright with the posts on the outside of where you want the bed to go. Fasten the head rails to the posts with more deck screws to complete the frame. Again, take care to make sure everything lines up right.
  • 4. Adjust the bed frame so that it’s level and in the position you want. If you have to move it or make adjustments, make sure the angles are still lined up.
  • 5. Finally, reinforce the walls by placing a stake at the midpoint on the outside of each of the walls. Hammer the stakes into the ground so that they’re even with the top of the garden bed, then secure them with deck screws.

And that’s all there is to it! Pat yourself on the back, fill the bed with soil, and then tag us in your picture with #MyOSHProject

#MyOSHProject: Air Plant Displays Two Ways

Air plants are the kind of greenery that even a neglectful gardener can love. These bromeliads get all the water and nutrients they need through specialized leaves. And since they come in an array of interesting shapes and colors, they add easy-care (and living!) architectural elements for a variety of projects. We’ll help you get started with a few ideas. When you’re ready to get started, find everything you need at your neighborhood Orchard Supply Hardware store.

How to make a Tillandsia Stand

Air Plant in a Tillandsia Stand
Air Plant Tillandsia Stand


Step 1
Take a 2-in x 2-n piece of bass hobby wood and cut into 2-in squares. Hint: You can get this done at the Workbench

Step 2
Cut copper wire to desired length.

Step 3
Drill a hole slightly larger than the size of the copper wire three-quarters of the way through each wood block.

Step 4
Fill each hole with the E600 glue and push in the copper wire. Remember to wipe off excess glue.

Step 5
Use the pliers to coil the copper wire at the top.

Step 6
Place an air plant inside the coil and you now have an artful addition to a table or shelf.


Get all your cutting done at our Workbench! We custom cut wood, wire, glass, rope, chain, fabric and much more!

Get creative and add a splash of paint. You have almost endless color choices with Benjamin Moore.

How to make a wall hanging air plant

Wall hanging air plant display
Wall hanging air plant display


Step 1
Take a piece of 2 x 4 wood or similar and have it cut to the size you desire.

Step 2
After paint dries, drill a hole diagonally through each top corner so that the exit point is on either side of the wood.

Step 3
Cut a 20-in piece of twine and loop through holes, making a knot on both ends.

Step 4
Use the E600 glue to attach the handle pull in the desired spot.

Step 5
Place an air plant inside the handle. Your living artwork is ready to hang!

Keeping your air plant happy

Easy care does not meant that you can ignore air plants. Just remember to give them:

  • Constant air circulation.
  • Some moisture. The best way to water an air plant is to submerge it in a dish of water for 12 hours. Air plants only take up as much water as they need, so you won’t overwater by doing this. Do this every 2 weeks.
  • Protection from full sun.
  • Protection from temperatures colder than 45 degrees

Get an Amazing Lawn This Summer…It All Starts Right Now

Ah, summer. Long days, cold drinks, and the perfect lawn under your bare feet. All that starts right now, with spring lawn care. Here’s our super-secret how-to for the perfect lawn.

If your lawn is looking a little patchy, it might be time to overseed it. No, that doesn’t mean putting way too much seed on your lawn. It means we’re going to put new seed over the grass that’s already there, to fill in the blank spots.

Before we get started, let’s go over some basics:

  • Read all the directions before starting a project, or using a new product. You want to have a good idea of what you’re doing before you start.
  • Be sure you’re wearing the right clothes including proper safety gear like safety glasses and earplugs if you plan to use trimmers, edgers, or any other outdoor power equipment. Remember your gloves.
  • Make sure your yard is clean. Clear out any leaves, twigs, branches, and thatch. You can use a leaf blower for the larger debris, but you should finish with a rake to loosen up and level out the top layer of soil.
  • Use the right seed types for your region. Don’t know what kind of seed you should use? Your neighborhood store {link to store finder} will have the right types for your area.

Once you’ve got everything, it’s time to get started. First, mow your lawn on a short setting (under 3-in), and bag the grass cuttings. We’re going to use them a little later.

Next, a step most people skip: Aeration. Aeration is even important in years you’re not overseeding. It helps oxygen get to the root of all those plants.

Mowing and aerating.
Mowing and aerating.

Remember, your lawn isn’t one big plant, it’s a bajillion tiny ones. Each and every one of them needs oxygen. You can aerate your lawn by yourself with a hand aerator or you can rent an aeration machine.

Now here’s the first secret trick. When you’ve finished your aeration, mulch your old grass trimmings back onto the lawn.

Earlier, when we mowed the lawn short, we made it easier for the seed to get through the grass and to the ground. Now we’re using the grass cuttings as a base mulch layer for the new seeds. It’ll hold moisture around them and help them grow. And since we just aerated, there are convenient holes all over your lawn, just waiting to be filled.

Rotary and hand held seed spreaders.

Now it’s time to seed. You can use a hand broadcast spreader , to spread grass seeds in a smaller yard, or a rotary spreader {link to gallery}, for a larger one. Be sure to adjust your spreader to the setting suggested in your seed’s instructions. Overcrowding your seeds makes them compete for food, water, and oxygen, and can lead to patchy growth. That’s pretty much the opposite of what we’re trying for.

Once you’ve seeded, water and wait for it to absorb. Now water again. In the ten days or so after re-seeding, you’ll want to water 2-3 times a day, for 5 minutes or so each time. Proper hydration, at the right time, is the key to a healthy lawn.

Sprinkler Timer – See More

During spring and summer, grass needs about 1-in of water per week for ideal growth. Depending on where you live, a lot of that could be taken care of by rain. Take that into consideration when you set your sprinkler output, because too much water could drown your seeds, or wash them away.

Water daily, in the early morning. Between 4 and 10 a.m. if at all possible. There are a ton of solutions for automatic watering, so don’t worry about somehow fitting it into your morning before you finish your coffee. Some timers even have weather delay functions, so you can pause your watering schedule for a few days when you’re expecting rain.

How to test your sprinkler output

Scatter some pie tins around your lawn, and turn your sprinklers on for a cycle. Ignore any funny looks from the neighbors. When you’re done watering, measure how much fluid is in each tin to know how many inches your lawn gets per watering, and if it’s watering evenly.

Now, let’s talk about crabgrass and dandelions. They are the enemy.

Crabgrass should be controlled with a pre-emergent herbicide to stop them before they even get going.

There’s really no bad time in the spring to use a pre-emergent, except when you’ve just seeded your lawn. Most pre-emergents kill grass just as easily as they kill weeds, so wait until you’ve mowed any new grass four times before applying it. If you’re not re-seeding this year, use a fertilizer with a crabgrass preventer and you’ll feed your lawn at the same time as destroying those nasty weeds.

Dandelions—and most other broadleaf weeds—have to be handled with a post-emergent herbicide after they start to grow. But there’s good news about that.

Unlike pre-emergent herbicides, there are special products that target the dandelion, and let the grass get off scot-free. They can be applied without harming your lawn at all, and they kill the taproot. If you don’t kill the root, you have to dig the whole thing if you want to to make sure it won’t come back.

And of course, once your grass starts growing, you have to cut it. But don’t pull the choke yet. Step one for the perfect trim is servicing your lawn mower.

Change the oil, buy new gasoline, lube the moving parts, and clean up any old messes. You should also have the lawn mower blades sharpened (which we can do at The Workbench) and the engine checked (we can do that, too! Ask at customer service).

In terms of grass length, try to keep your lawn right around 3-in tall. The longer it gets, the easier it is for pests to hide in there. If it’s too short, it won’t be able to absorb all the nutrients it needs.

And never cut your grass when it’s wet. It’s bad for your lawn and bad for your mower, too.

That’s it for spring. Easy, right? And it’ll pay off later this summer, in the form of bare feet and happy toes.

How to Plant a Veggie Garden from Seed

Renee's Garden Seeds, All Seed Starting Supplies

Growing vegetables and herbs from seed is easy, inexpensive, and fascinating because you get to witness the growth cycle of a plant from beginning to harvest. You can do it yourself or get family or friends involved in the plotting. All you need is a space that gets at least six hours of sun, has nearby access to a hose, and (wait for it … ) seeds!


Wheelbarrow, rake, hoe

Digging fork or long-handled trowel

✓ Bags of garden soil and/or compost

✓ Pencil or small stick


✓ Gardening gloves and hat

✓ Drinking water, sunblock, family and friends


In spring (as in, now), you can sow most seeds directly in the garden. But before you start doing what I like to call the “Sprinkle & Shake,” you need to prep the planting area. If you’re planting in the ground, remove weeds and apply a six-inch layer of compost. Compost boosts soil nutrition and helps retain soil moisture. In other words, your plants will love you for it. With a digging fork or long trowel, work the compost into the existing soil, breaking up any big clumps. You want the soil to be nice and finely textured. Rake the garden bed smooth and and lightly water it if the soil is dry. Aim for moist not soggy. With the heavy work now out of the way, you’re ready to plant.


If you haven’t selected your seeds by now, you can do this at the nursery while the compost and moisture settle into the garden bed. Buy seeds for what you want to eat, of course, but also consider how much space the plants will ultimately need, which ones perform best in your area (check with your local Orchard Nursery), and what vegetables grow well together. A reliable rule of thumb: veggies and herbs that taste great together can usually be grown together successfully. Leafy greens are typically easy to grow from seed and can thrive in each other’s company. Try a mix of kale, Swiss chard and lettuces. Other great easy-grow combos include cherry tomatoes, peppers and herbs like basil or thyme; and carrots, beans and radishes. Look for disease-resistant varieties, too, of which there seems to be increasingly more and more.


Follow directions on seed packets for spacing requirements and how deep to plant. Make furrows with a hoe if you’ve got room to do long, traditional rows. For smaller plots, you can simply press a pencil or stick into the soil to create furrows, gently sprinkle the seeds, then pinch the soil over the seeds, pat lightly and water. You can snip off a corner of the packet and carefully tap the seeds into the furrows or distribute the seed by shaking it gently from your hand. Either way is easy-peasy. Scatter pinches of seed as evenly as possible but don’t worry if it’s not lined up. Be extra careful with very small seeds on a windy day. Larger seeds, such as for pole or bush beans, can simply be pushed one-by-one into the soil with a finger.

Water the furrows with the mist setting on your garden hose. Keep top of soil moist but not soggy until the seeds sprout. When seedlings emerge and have put on 2-3 “true” leaves, thin out the plants. This prevents overcrowding, benefits development, and is just easier to do while the plants are still young. If you thin the plants carefully, you can use the seedlings you pinch out elsewhere in the garden. Feel free to even start another row with them. The more veggies, the merrier.

Get all of your seedling, soil and planting needs taken care of when you visit your local Orchard Supply Hardware.