5 Recipes for Non-Chemical Insecticides

Note: You want a garden teaming with life. Ecological balance is key to successful organic gardening. Although these sprays are made from non-chemical ingredients, they will kill garden pests as well as beneficials. Spray with care and only when absolutely necessary.

Rhubarb or Tomato or Wormwood Leaf Spray

For control of aphids whiteflies, caterpillars and sucking insects.           

Ingredients: Rhubarb/Tomato/or Wormwood leaves, water, natural dish soap.

Directions: Boil water in a large cooking pot, filled halfway. Cut or tear the leaves and add them to the pot of water until it is about ¾ of the way full.  Once all the leaves are in the pot, turn off the water and let it steep for 30 minutes. Strain out and compost the leaves.  Add 2 TBL of dish soap to the water mixture (dish soap helps the mixture stick to the leaves). Dilute the water to 1 part leaf concentrate: 7 parts water.  Use a hand held or backpack sprayer to apply to leaves and stems of plants.

Miracle Marigold Spray

For control of chewing insects including tomato hornworms, grasshoppers, and squash bugs.

Ingredients: Any and all marigold parts, vegetable based soap or castile soap, water.

Directions: Fill a blender or food processor with marigold stems, leaves, and flowers.  You can just cut the plant back and use all the parts in your spray. Add 1-2 cups of water, so that you can easily puree it. Blend and let the pulverized mixture set for about 24 hours. Strain through a wire mesh or cheesecloth. Dilute further with 1-2 quarts of water and add 1/4 -1/2 tsp of castile soap (or vegetable based soap, Dr. Bronners for example). Spray directly on insects or plants you want them to keep off of.

Garlic Spray

For control of soft-bodied insects such as aphids and whiteflies.  Will also curb fungal growth in place of sulfur sprays.

Ingredients: 3 oz of garlic, 2 TBL mineral oil or vegetable oil, 1 pint of water, 1 tsp natural fragrance free dish soap or Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile

Directions: Chop or press garlic. Add garlic to oil and let stand for around 2 days. Strain out chunks and put remaining garlic infusion plus the rest of the ingredients in a spray bottle. Go to town with it, repeating when necessary and after rain.

Garlic-Chili Spray

For control of slugs, ants, mealy bugs, caterpillars, or pretty much anything.

Ingredients: 2-3 garlic bulbs, 6-12 hot peppers, 1TBL vegetable oil, scant TBL eco-dish soap, 7 cups of water.

Directions: Place the garlic and peppers, oil, plus half the water in a blender or food processor and blend up.  Let the mixture rest for about 24 hours then strain.  Add the rest of the water and dish soap and shake it up.  Spray as necessary and repeat everyday for 10 days.

Simple Soap Spray

For control of aphids, scale, mites, and thrips.

Ingredients: eco-dish soap, water

Directions: Mix 1 TBL of soap with 1 gallon of water. Spray where needed.

Sprays are best used in the morning or at dusk when insects are more sluggish.  Most sprays need to be used up within a week or so. Store it in a dark cool area.

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