Question: Does planting garlic keep bugs away? Will it help if I plant garlic on the border of my vegetable garden? -Ted L.
Answer: Growing garlic in the garden does not keep bugs away, but you can use the garlic to make a homemade pesticide that will keep bugs away when it’s sprayed on plants. The more garlic your spray includes, the stronger and more effective it will be. You can make a weak preventative spray out of six cloves of garlic diluted in one gallon of water, or use two heads of garlic diluted with just half a cup of water for a very strong, concentrated spray. For most uses, you’ll want something in between these two extremes.
Start by removing the papery husk from the garlic cloves you will use and crushing them. Place the crushed garlic into a bowl, cover it with boiling water, and allow it to steep overnight. Strain the mixture before pouring it into a spray bottle, as leaving any large chunks behind can cause the spray mechanism to clog.
Simply spray the finished mixture onto your plants to repel insects from your garden. You should spray your plants on a schedule of every couple of days to a week, making sure to target the undersides of plant leaves, where many bugs lay their eggs and congregate. If your garden is struggling with an insect infestation, you should apply the spray daily until the problem is resolved. If it rains after you’ve applied your spray for that day, you should reapply it, as the rain will have washed it away. Store your spray in the refrigerator if you plan to use it regularly. For more long-term storage, freeze the spray.