Everyone who has a garden and enjoys gardening tasks knows how troublesome garden pests can get.
Whether it is snails taking over your lettuce or aphids sucking on your roses, a pest infestation is definitely frustrating, but it is not a reason to resort to harmful, toxic pesticides.
Although these sprays might eliminate the pesky culprits, they are indeed harmful to you and the environment. Instead, try whipping up one of these simple aids with ingredients you most likely have close at hand.
These are the materials you need for the suggested 4 soaps:
- biodegradable liquid dish soap
- spray bottles
- lemon or orange essential oil
- cooking oil
- baking soda
- chili powder
1. Natural insecticidal soap spray
This soap is easy to make since it should eliminate most of those annoying common pests such as aphids, mites, white flies, thrips and mealy bugs. It kills them by attacking their skin and suffocating them.
Add a few drops of orange or lemon essential oil because either of them is a natural insecticide especially effective against ants. Also, these oils help the spray stick to your plants.
You will need:
- 1 ½ tablespoons of liquid soap
- 1 quart of water
- A couple of drops of orange or lemon essential oil
Instructions: Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Use a biodegradable liquid soap preferable (for example Murphy’s oil soap, castile soap, or Mrs. Meyer’s), to prepare the mixture. Once the ingredients are combined, shake the mixture well. Spray your plants thoroughly, making sure you cover the underside of the leaves as well.
2. All-purpose garlic chili spray
Pepper and garlic are both natural insect repellents and will help to repel Japanese beetles, borers, leafhoppers and slugs. Garlic also deters larger pests such as deer and rabbits.
You will need:
- 5 cloves of garlic, crushed and cut roughly
- natural insecticidal soap spray (the same from recipe given above)
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder (you could also use fresh or dried hot peppers)
Instructions: In a bowl with a spout, combine the substances. Allow garlic and chili powder to steep overnight. Strain and pour into a spray bottle. Keep for up to 2 weeks.
3. Antifungal spray
This spray is great for treating garden plants combating with fungal diseases. There is nothing quite as discouraging as seeing your plant with an unsightly mark of mildew, a type of fungal disease. Almost overnight your beautiful green cucumber and squash leaves are covered in patches of grayish-white blotches.
You will need:
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- ½ tablespoon of oil
- 2 quarts of warm water
Instructions: Add baking soda and oil to a cup of warm water and keep stirring until the soda dissolves. Mix in the rest of the water. Before attempting to spray and treat your plant, first remove the most severely damaged leaves. Then spray your solution, repeating every few days until the “invader” disappears. This mixture is best if used immediately.
4. Snail & slug bath
Is your garden often “visited” by snails? Here is what you do:
Simply nestle a small dish or a cup of beer in your garden, near or under your snail- and slug-attracting plants. The snails, attracted to the yeast in beer, will take a dip into the “libation” and slide off into a drunken oblivion.
Just place the beer in a shaded spot so as to keep it from evaporating.
Additional notes for gardeners:
It is best to spray your plants in the morning before the sun is too hot, or else you run the risk of burning the leaves of your plant. And while these sprays are non-toxic and less harmful than commercial pesticides, they will kill beneficial bugs along with the harmful ones. Use these sprays sparingly, only treating infected parts of the plants.