Sprinkle Some Red Pepper Flakes In Your Garden And Reap The Benefits

The benefits of red peppers go well beyond the palate. While red peppers — the spicy type, cayenne for instance — are a popular seasoning for a variety of different types of cuisine, they are also known to have a wide range of health benefits to people who consume them on a regular basis. But, did you know they can also play a crucial role in keeping your garden healthy?

There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that red pepper flakes can enhance the soil, acting as a natural fertilizer so to speak. Basically, the same vitamins and nutrients that provide our bodies with an extra immune boost can be passed from pepper flakes to nearby plants as well through decomposition. They may also inhibit the growth of weeds in beds and gardens. However, the most common way to use them is to prevent a variety of insects, pests, rodents, and other creatures from invading your garden.

So, with that in mind, you may want to start sprinkling them around your plants as often as you sprinkle them on your pizza so both you and your garden reap the benefits.

Why red pepper flakes repel insects and pests

All things good about red peppers such as cayenne and chili peppers revolves around a substance known as capsaicin. This is the very substance that makes peppers hot.  This same substance is also responsible for many of the curative powers as well as adverse effects attributed to chili peppers. These same issues and sensations are experienced by insects, rodents, and even larger mammals that ingest peppers. Hence the ability of red pepper flakes to deter a variety of pests from munching on the crops in your garden. So, essentially, while everyone is endlessly searching for creative ways to keep critters out of the garden, there is a possible solution likely in your spice rack.

One of the true benefits of using red pepper flakes is that it is a natural remedy to pesky garden pest issues. Additionally, it is not a pesticide. Rather it is a deterrent. So, it won't eliminate the beneficial insects, it will just prevent the harmful insects and pests from destroying your garden. Finally, while red pepper flakes can be beneficial on their own, you will reap even more benefits if you use them in conjunction with growing other plants in the garden that are known to repel pests.

How to use red pepper flakes in your garden

A couple additional bonuses to utilizing red pepper flakes as a pest deterrent is they are easy to acquire and just as easy to apply. The simplest method to get red pepper is to go to the closest grocery store and buy some, as it is found in virtually every spice section. Some grocery stores also sell whole dried peppers, which can be easily chopped by hand or ground in a food processor. This is typically a cheaper route to go if you need a larger quantity. Finally, some gardeners are already growing red peppers of their own. Once harvested, these peppers can be dried in a dehydrator or oven, then chopped, ground, or minced.

Once red pepper flakes are in hand, it is simply a matter of scattering them throughout the garden every couple of days.  At times, it can be useful to spot-treat particular problem areas by dropping a tablespoon of flakes around plants that are being highly targeted by insects or rodents.

One drawback to using the dry flakes is they will blow away and need to be redistributed frequently. A solution to this problem is to make a red pepper liquid and spraying it on the plant. To make this red pepper flake concoction, boil a few tablespoons of chili flakes in a gallon of water. Allow the liquid to cool and soak overnight. Be sure to add a few drops of liquid soap so the spray will adhere to the leaves when applied. 

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