[A]s I was watering the garden this morning, and carefully inspecting the plants, I noticed the first signs of aphids in the peppers! Given the mild winter, I fear that we may have trouble with pests this year — and that’s just the reality of growing your own. While there are many, many commercially-prepared products that sit on the shelves of my local nursery…I am committed to natural gardening (and saving money); therefore, I have learned how to make my own organic insecticides using the contents of my kitchen!
Give these simple recipes a go if you find an unwanted insects crawlin’ around your precious plants.
Homemade All-Purpose Insecticide Spray
- 15 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 3 cayenne peppers (or 3 jalapeno peppers or 1 tablespoon cayenne powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid castile soap (fragrance free)
- 4 cups warm water
1. In a blender combine the water, garlic, onion, and peppers and puree.
2. Pour the mixture into a glass jar, secure the lid, and steep for 6-24 hours on the counter.
3. Strain through a cheesecloth, then add the liquid castile soap and mix well.
4. Load the mixture into a spray bottle and you’re good to go.
I love this recipe! Try it on a host of pests in your garden and feel free to adjust it as needed with other insect repellent herbs. Spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves, throughly coating them. Store this mixture in the fridge and if it is strained well, it should keep for at least 1-2 months. Note: Be sure to test a patch prior to spraying the entire plant. Take care not to get this on your skin or in your eyes, the cayenne pepper will burn.
Basic Insecticidal Soap
- 1 1/2 teaspoon any type of liquid soap (i.e. castile, dish washing soap, ivory, etc.)
- 1 quart water
1. Combine all ingredient in a spray bottle.
Set the spray bottle nozzle to stream and spray infested areas of the foliage. This insecticidal soap works great against some of the most common garden pests such as: aphids, earworms, borers, mites, whiteflies, maggots, moths, and beetles. Note: By adding 1/4 cup of isopropyl alcohol to the above recipe you can create a very mild but effective insecticidal soap that treats scale insects. The alcohol works against the scale’s shell.
Spider Mite Spray
- 1/8 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 gallon of water
1. In a bucket combine all of the ingredients and mix completely.
2. Load into a spray bottle.
Spray this homemade Spider Mite Spray anywhere spider mites are living or crawling. The mixture should rid your garden of all types of mites.
-Before you set out into the garden to eradicate it…get to know the insects in your area. There are so many bugs living in our little backyard ecosystems — otherwise known as the garden — that are beneficial and need to be protected. Knowing which bugs are there to help your cause and those that are there to destroy it, is a very important part to harvesting a successful crop. Read more here…
-Be sure your plants and veggies are well fed. Fertilizing as needed – with worm castings, compost, fish emulsion, or seaweed – will create healthy plants with “strong immune systems.” Just like humans, plants that are rooted in good, healthy, and nutritious soil will produce a greater resistance to attacks from insects, pests, rot, fungi, and mildew. Read more here… Note: Take care with fertilizer…over use comes with it’s own problems too. It’s all about finding that balance.
Now it’s your turn! Please share your recipes or tips for naturally managing pests in your garden.
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