Organic Diatomaceous Earth for Gardening – And More!
An amazing product produced by nature itself. Have you used Diatomaceous earth for gardening? If you haven’t you’re missing out on a great weapon and warrior in your garden. This awesome powder can help you take control of many common issues in your garden and around your home!
DE (Diatomaceous earth) is available typically in two forms. When using it for your garden and in your home always use Food Grade, not Filter-grade used in pools. Food Grade DE is and organic mineral-based solution that will not harm you, your family or your pets.
What is Diatomaceous Earth- Fossil Power
Fossils are cool! I am not talking about the big ones here. No giant T-Rex bones, or ancient Wholly Mammoth unearthed in the making of DE powder. However, it is still ancient fossils mined from the bed of rivers, streams, and oceans.
The fossils of DE are made up of Diatoms. Some of the oldest aquatic organisms in the world. The decayed deposits of these creatures leave behind chalky fossilized deposits called diatomite. This ancient secret is a modern natural wonder!
What Does Diatomaceous Earth for Gardening Do Exactly?
Insects in the Garden:
This fine powder DE we just talked about may look all nice and soft to us but to an insect, it is a nightmare! Those tiny particles of fossil are loaded with razor-sharp edges that pierce the bodies of soft-bodied insects.
When insects crawl over the ground or on a plant treated with DE they get tiny cuts. Before long, they will succumb to injuries by losing body fluids.
In a second way, the Diatomaceous earth continues its assault with a dehydrating quality. It breaks down the outer layers of the insect, the exoskeleton, and causes dehydration.
Some insects are smart enough to pack up and go when DE is used. For many, it is a deterrent and they will move on to easier targets.
Creating compost to use in the garden is a great way to recycle old plantings and other organic matter. It can also be a breeding ground for larva and insects. After the heat of the compost has gone down it sits looking like an inviting spa for all sorts of insects.
Sprinkling DE in and on your compost can stop insect infestations later in your compost. It also acts as a natural deodorizer eliminating odors.
Adding diatomaceous earth to your potting mixes by 15 – 20% per volume can increase your soil’s water holding capacity. In addition, it serves a great benefit to your indoor plantings for prevention.
Pre-treatment can destroy annoying fungus gnat larvae and other soil born insects.
Deter Invaders, the furry kind
Diatomaceous earth will not harm animals. It is safe for fish, birds, cats, dogs and your wild furry outdoor residents. You can use DE as a double duty in discouraging them from visiting your garden areas.
Adding essential oil in the DE powder and putting it around garden areas can have a long-lasting impression for keeping unwanted animals and insects out.
- Peppermint for mice, squirrels and other rodents
- Rosemary or Spicy Pepper for Cats and dogs
I add this as a benefit for diatomaceous earth for gardening because ticks have often been an issue for me when out in the garden. DE is a great way to eliminate ticks from your yard naturally without harmful chemicals.
Dusting your yard can help end tick problems. Repeat monthly during the warm months to keep you and your pets safe from tick-borne diseases.
How to apply Diatomaceous Earth in your Garden
Dry Application – Most Common and Easiest
- Best applied after morning dew or a light misting of water to help it stick.
- Use a dust applicator approved for DE (highly recommended) you can make one from an old coffee can and lid. Puncture tiny holes in the lid and create a shaker. The downside to homemade is difficulty dusting the underside of leaves and regulating the dust output.
- Wear a dust mask during application. DE can irritate the lungs when breathed in.
- Dust the upper and lower part of leaves and around the base of plants.
Wet Application Insect Treatment- Not as effective on ground areas
- A garden sprayer or spray bottle that will allow you to create a steady mist.
- Mix 4 tablespoons food grade DE to 1 gallon of water.
- Mist plants getting the upper and underside of leaves.
Wet Application as a repellent
- Using the same directions as above.
- Add essential oil to the mix by 1 teaspoon per gallon for pure essential oils.
- Spray around the outer area of the garden or directly on the outer wood of raised beds.
This video demonstrates the wet application.
Tips & Cautions: Do no Harm
When using DE keep in mind it is a very fine powder. Using a dust mask is a must. Although Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to us it can be a lung irritant. Keep pets away from the area while you are applying and keep your mask on. Once it has settled, which is quick, you are safe to remove the mask and reintroduce your pets.
DE can be used cautiously with bees in mind. Bees are shown to have some defense against this powder but let us play a part to caution. When treating your garden areas and lawn treat in the evenings or very early morning when the bees are less active. Avoid getting diatomaceous earth on flowers and blossoms that the bees visit. This will help ensure their safety.
Rejoice. Earthworms are structurally different from the other insects you are trying to prevent and remove from the garden. The mucus make-up of their body allows them to slide over the DE without harm. Any that is absorbed is harmlessly expelled in their castings.
With Any Treatments Don’t overdo it. Light sprinkles, infrequently. Mass clumps of diatomaceous earth build up on the leaves of your plant can inhibit photosynthesis and cause harm. Use in light treatments that just dust, not bury your plants. This makes it 100% safe for your garden plants!
Rain washes DE off surfaces. You will need to reapply after a rain if your issues still exist or lightly as a continued precaution.
Diatomaceous Earth Can do so Much More!
A quick list of other benefits DE has around the home
√ As a Nutritional Supplement! Yeah, that is right you can consume DE without harm. In fact, it has many benefits. Including rich antioxidant powers, aids stronger bones teeth and joints and detoxifying cleanse for your intestines.
√ Bed Bugs! I hope you never have them but if you do. Diatomaceous earth is a great solution. Sprinkled on furniture, mattresses, and bedding can remove these pesky bugs.
√ Fleas on your cats and dogs! Using your hands or a fine shaker to avoid a lot of air dust. Rub it into your pet’s fur to kill fleas naturally. Do not get in their mouth nose or eyes. Also, works on ticks!
√ Cockroach Ant and Spider control: Use DE sprinkles around the outside of your house to prevent these invaders from ever making it in!
√ Deodorizer. Use like baking soda in the fridge, freezer, trash cans and bins to prevent and remove odors!
Natural Occurring Food Grade DE an Organic Solution
I have been using diatomaceous earth for gardening for many years. Serves as a great benefit for me both indoors and out. My worst enemy in the garden has been the aphid. In a previous article, I explored the benefits of DE against aphids. You can read more about it here.
Make sure to always get FOOD GRADE and look for the OMRI organic certification. This will help to ensure you are getting the best quality and ORGANIC diatomaceous earth you can get. It will be safe for you, your pets and your plants.
I choose this DE food grade brand. I know it is a product I can rely on for quality and reliability. You can read the review here. Best Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth – DiatomaceousEarth Review
Questions, thoughts, and concerns? I would love to know what you think or have experienced using DE. Drop a comment below.
Hi! It is great to meet you! I am happy you found your way here to Inside Herb Gardens. This is a hobby I am extremely passionate about. I love gardening, herbs and using them! Sharing with others is a great way to pass on and continue the joy of gardening for generations. I am here to help anytime. Reach out or better yet drop me comments.
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