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  1. Pests invading your homestead garden can ruin not only entire crops but also your plans to live off-grid. Managing garden pests is especially frustrating when you don’t know what type of pest is eating up your garden. Identifying your pests is an important first step, before you can take action to protect your crops. Large Animals Animals such as deer, raccoons, rabbits, and birds will all find the vegetables growing in your garden irresistible. The good news is, these larger animals can be easier to control than insects. A 6-foot tall fence should keep out deer and even raccoons. Digging a trench a few feet deep around the garden, and embedding chicken wire can also help discourage burrowing animals, such as rabbits, from getting into your veggies. Finally, adopting an outdoor cat will help keep rodents under control. Insect Pests On the other hand, insects are nearly impossible to keep out with a simple barrier. Identifying the culprits is the first step. First, take note of the type of damage. If there are holes chewed through the leaves, you have some type of chewing insects, such as caterpillars or locusts. Sickly, yellow leaves could indicate aphids; look under the leaves for this sap-sucking pest. If you see squiggly lines on the leaves, you have leaf miners, which are likely the larvae of many different types of flies, beetles, and moths. Natural Pest Control Natural pest control methods include fostering beneficial insects to eat the bad insects munching your veggies. For example, ladybugs love to eat aphids, and praying mantises will capture and eat all sorts of pests, such as grasshoppers. Nematodes are another type of insect that kills other insects. Another way to help control insect pests is to plant bug-repelling plants, such as marigolds, geraniums, or chrysanthemums. You can also plant herbs like basil, garlic, onion, parsley, and peppermint to repel insect pests. Plant these among your vegetables. Insecticides Finally, insecticides can be used. For example, you can mix one part garlic juice with four parts water, and spray it onto your plants. You can also dust your plants with diatomaceous earth. This a fine, white powder made of fossilized phytoplankton. It’s harmless to people and animals, but will cause insects to dry out and die. If your garden is infested with snails and slugs, place a few shallow bowls of beer around the garden; snails love beer, and they’ll crawl in, get drunk, and drown. If these natural solutions aren’t working, you’ll want to contact a pest control service. They can help you identify your pests and understand why your solutions haven’t worked yet. They can also recommend alternative pesticide solutions. Pests are a pain, and they can do a lot of damage to your food supply if they’re not caught and removed quickly. Do some research to learn what kind of pests you’re dealing with and how to keep them out.