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My garden was a wreck. The crickets were invading, but the worst had to be the squash bugs. They ruined my pumpkin patch, zucchini patch, and winter squash patch. With two young children, I could not use bug sprays. Then help was found. I was told to spread diatomaceous earth around my plants.

Anyone with a pool has heard of diatomaceous earth. Pool filters use it to filter the water before it goes back into the pool. Diatomaceous earth is the crushed skeletons of little creatures called Diatomes that lived a long time ago. They died in massive groups where their shells could be mined and ground up for use.

When you spread the diatomaceous earth in your garden and around the plants, it literally rips the bugs apart. The diatomaceous earth is a very fine white powder, so fine that it is best to use a dust mask when you spread it. This powder is like shards of glass to insects. They crawl over it and it sticks to their bodies and begins to slice open their exoskeletons. Once cut up the start to "bleed-out" and dehydrate. It will not harm humans or pets making it totally safe for the garden, but it will kill the unwanted insects.

Do not forget, rain washes it away so you will have to reapply the earth after a good rainstorm. Look for diatomaceous earth at a pool supply store for the best deal. It costs around $9 for a 25 pound bag at our local pool supply store. If you buy the same thing in a gardening supply store, it will cost you $5 for a one pound bag. Do not fall for the garden supply store rip-off.