Organic Pesticide Sprays

These recipes were borrowed from The Frugal Gardener: How to Have More Garden for Less Money  by Catriona Tudor Erler. Fantastic and simple ideas, great for beginners, excellent reference for masters, and inspiration for those who horde recyclables for god knows what (guilty)… you should see our “office” right now.. oy chigoya!

Some of these mixes can be purchased ready to go, but what is the fun in that? For more information on a particular mix click on the corresponding photo. I haven’t had to try any of these yet, but I now know what ingredients to add to my gardening shed. Fill your spray bottles and set to stun ‘cuz the terminator is coming to town!

Molasses Mix —
(leaf miners, fungicide, +nutrients)
1 part molasses

5 parts water
Shake vigorously and spray leaves. Make sure molasses has completely dissolved by using warm water. Some claim the molasses adds nutrients for flowering plants. Molasses is also a key ingredient for fish emulsions. You can’t lose with this recipe and I bet it would be a fine preventative measure.

All Purpose Pest Spray –
(snails, Japanese beetles, mammals)

1 entire garlic bulb
1 small onion
1 tsp cayenne pepper (dry-spice)
1 quart water
1 tbsp liquid dish soap
Blend garlic & onion to liquefy! Add pepper & water. Steep for one hour and strain through cheesecloth, coffee filter, or whatever you have (pantyhose?). Once strained add soap and mix again. Filter into clean spray bottle and coat both sides of leaves. Might want to do a test spray on one plant. If you feel you’ve added too much cayenne add more water or make another batch. Avoid eyes…  itsa pepper
Mixture will keep in your fridge for one week.

Ammonia Spray –
(aphids, flea beetles, scales, thrips, white flies, slugs)
1 part ammonia

7 parts water
Might burn plants so do a test spray. Do not apply during hot weather or droughts. I personally HATE the smell, but what wouldn’t a gardener do to murder aphids? Ammonia may be the grossest pesticide I recommend, but at least it’s better than pre-made pesticides purchased at the store.

Garlic Oil  –
(aphids, imported cabbage worms, leaf hoppers, larval mosquitos, squash bugs, whiteflies, possibly anti-fungal…)
3 oz. minced garlic

2 tsp. mineral oil
1 pint water
¼ oz. liquid dish soap
CONCENTRATE: Soak garlic & oil for at least 24 hours. Add water & soap. Strain into glass container. Stores at room temperature. When ready to use mix 1-2 tablespoons of concentrate w/ one pint of water. Mix into spray bottle. Do a plant test before nuking.

This spray also does damage to beneficial insects (ladybugs, spiders, etc.)  Use  with caution… don’t eat it. Garlic Barrier claims their mixture will keep away deer, rabbits, birds, field mice, whiteflies, spider mites, leafrollers, leafhoppers, ants, aphids, thrips, grasshoppers, spiders, etc. Not sure if it kills bees. If it were me spraying, I would make sure to not spray when my veggies are flowering.

Starch Spray –
(cabbage moths, aphids, spider mites, thrips)
1 cup potato starch or flour

1 gallon water
½ tsp liquid non-detergent soap
Combine starch & water. Wait about 5 minutes and let starch soak. Add soap & mix well. Cover your plants thoroughly with mixture. This does not keep, so it needs to be mixed when you are ready to apply.  Leave mixture on plants for at least two days. This mix works by holding the pests suspended until they die. Only works on affected plants. Does not work if the rain washes it away.

Tomato Leaf Spray –
(aphids, corn earworms *attracts wasps)
1-2 cups tomato leaves (prune wisely)

4 cups water
Mash or chop leaves into 2 cups of water. Steep overnight. Strain. Add remaining 2 cups water. This is an interesting use for pruned tomato plants, but if your allergic to wasps than this might not be a good idea… depends on your needs, but wasps will eat the corn earworms, so if that is the problem.. here’s your IPM (integrated pest management) solution.

Tomato leaves are poisonous and should be handled with care. Always keep pets away from sprayed areas. Come to think of it, I would only use this spray on plants that are not fruiting. Read more.

Do not use a garden sprayer that you have also used to spray poison or weed killer. Remnants of the poison can remain in the sprayer and kill your plants.
Be careful with the amount and type of soap used. Too much soap can negatively affect and possibly kill plants. De-greasers will kill plants. Avoid detergents, de-greasers, and anti-bacterial soaps. Just because its organic doesn’t mean it’s safe.

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