Been trying to grow your own garden but bugged by pests? Try these natural and chemical-free pesticides to save your plants without harming the Earth!
Vegetable Oil Spray
Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of mild liquid castile soap. To use, add 2 teaspoons of the oil spray mix with 1 quart of water, shake, and spray directly on the surfaces of plants affected by little pests like aphids, mites, and thrips.
This natural substance is made from a sedimentary rock created by fossilized algae. It is often available at garden stores, although many times only in large bags. To apply, simply dust the ground around your plants or sprinkle on the foliage where it will help control snails and slugs as well as other crawling insects. To be an effective natural pesticide, reapply after every rain.
Garlic Repellent Spray
Blend 2 bulbs of garlic with 1 cup of water and let sit overnight. Strain the liquid into a jar, add 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon mild liquid castile soap, and fill the jar the rest of the way with water. Put 1 cup of mixture in a sprayer, fill with water and apply to plants affected by aphids, cabbage worms, leaf hoppers, squash bugs, and whiteflies.
Chili Repellent Spray
Similar to garlic spray, chili pepper spray is a great natural insect repellent that can be used for a variety of different pests.
Mix 1 tablespoon of chili powder with 1 quart of water and several drops of mild liquid castile soap OR blend 1/2 cup of peppers with 1 cup of water, then add 1 quart of water and bring to a boil. Let sit until cooled then strain and add several drops of mild liquid castile soap.
Wear gloves when working with this spray and be sure not to get it into your eyes as it can be potent for humans and other animals like rabbits and deer.
Tomato Leaf Spray
Tomato leaves contain solanine and tomatine that can be used as an insecticide. Soak 2 cups of fresh leaves in 1 quart of water overnight. Strain and spray to kill aphids and many types of chewing insects while attracting beneficial bugs. Don't use on other nightshade plants like eggplants, peppers, or potatoes to prevent disease spread.
There are many more natural pesticides available but this blog should give you a good starting point for creating your own version. Killing all insects and pests is not the desired result but a more balanced, healthy ecosystem. Introducing other predatory insects can also be an effective pest management approach but do your own research first.
For additional precaution: 1) always first test out on a small portion of the plant to make sure that it will not harm the plant 2) carefully asses the damage and find out if it's caused by a pest or beneficial bug and 3) use these pesticides in the evening or early morning, when bees and other pollinators are not active.