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Friday, August 17, 2007

Organic Pest Control

A few tips...

Hot peppers work well as a spray application, garlic is another.

All-purpose Insect Spray

Great for getting rid of gypsy moth caterpillars, Japanese beetles, and any other foilage munchers. Can be sprayed on Fruit trees, Vegetables, and Roses. May also keep rodents away. Should be reapplied after every rain.

1 head of garlic1 tbsp cayenne pepper or hot pepper sauce
1 quart water1 tbsp liquid soap (biodegradable like Dr. Bronners’, Murphy’s or Ivory)
1 small onion

Chop garlic and onion, add cayenne and mix with water. Let steep 1 hour, strain and then add liquid soap and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator up to one week. Use as a spray as needed.
Use of organic sprays are more friendly to the environment. They are comprised of common organic materials, soaps and occasionally other environmentally friendly materials. They are often home brewed recipes that you can make and save money along the way.

Citrus Spray

Great for aphids...

1 pint of boiling water
rind from one lemon

Steep the peel in water and then strain before pouring into a spray bottle.

**Alternative: Use a few drops of lemon essential oil in water.


(Not really sure what to call this one...)

Find as many of the insects you wish to repel (dead) as you can and ground them up into a powder. Add one quart of water and spray on the affected plants.

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Below, is a list of plants that can be used to make homemade repellent sprays. Chop or mash the leaves and add warm water (either a 4:1 or 2:2 ratio - leaves:water). Let steep overnight and strain then pour into a spray bottle along with a tsp of biodegradable liquid soap.


Geranium- leaves used to keep insects away. Scented varieties such as rose geranium work well too. (It also works great as a body spray to repel mosquitoes and black flies!)
Marigold- 2:2 ratio for general insect and rabbit repelling
Mullein-4:1 ratio of water to mullein leaves to spray against white flies
Nasturtium-2:2 ratio using leaves for a spray to fight aphids and white flies
Rhubarb-4:1 ratio (use boiling water for this) for aphids, black spot and fungus
Tomato Leaf-2:2 ratio (potato leaves work well for this too)
Wormwood-2:2 ratio using leaves to fight aphids and caterpillars
**This last plant while highly effective will kill all insects, even beneficial ones, so use
sparingly and as a last resort.
Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) - An African flower which contains a
natural insecticide. It is less toxic than commercial insecticides (it is an ingredient in many
popular insect sprays) and extremely effective against insects. Take two tablespoons of
pyrethrum flower heads and add to one quart of hot water, steep for one hour. Take care not
to breathe in the fumes as they are toxic. Mix with 1Tb of liquid soap. Cool and strain
mixture and pour into a spray bottle.

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Homemade Dormant Oil

This is sprayed on fruit trees in late winter; this is an alternative to the petroleum based products available.

1 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp liquid soap
1 gallon of water

Mix 1 cup vegetable oil and 2 tbsp liquid soap
Then add to one gallon water, shake well and pour into sprayer or spray bottle. Shake often during use.



Insecticide Garlic Spray:

1Garlic Bulb
2 CupsWater
1 GallonWater

Take an entire garlic bulb and two cups of water and blend in blender.
Mix at high speed for 1-2 minutes.
Pour into a container and set aside for up to one day.
Strain liquid through a cheese cloth.
Mix liquid with one gallon of water.
Apply liberally on top and bottom of leaves.



Insecticide Soap Spray:

Put one tablespoon of dish detergent per gallon into a sprayer.
Apply liberally on top and bottom of leaves.
Re-apply after rain or one to two weeks.



Hot Pepper Spray:

This can be used to repel, deer, rabbits and other pests from your flowers and some vegetables.
**Note, use caution with vegetables as a peppery taste may remain on the fruit.


6Hot Peppers, the hotter the better
2 Cups Water
1 quart Water

Put hot peppers and two cups of water into a blender.
Mix at high speed for 1-2 minutes.
Pour into a container and set aside for up to one day.
Strain liquid through a cheese cloth.
Add liquid into a one quart container. Fill container to top with water.
Apply liberally to plants. Re-apply every week to two weeks or after a rain.



Fungicide/ Powdery Mildew Spray:

1 Gallon Water
3 Tablespoons Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Bleach
1 Teaspoon Dishwashing Liquid

Snip and remove leaves that are worst affected.
Mix ingredients with water.
Spray remaining leaves top and undersides.
Apply a heavier dose on leaves that have signs of infection and only lightly on unaffected leaves as bleach can actually harm and discolor the leaves.

**Extremely important: Do not use too much bleach! Use no more than 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. We hesitate to recommend using bleach as it can harm your plants if too much is applied. Use it at your own risk and try to avoid spraying it on healthy leaves.



Other Ideas:
Marigolds and Nasturtiums are commonly grown as companion plants as they keep pests away. Try putting some of the leaves and stems in your blender. Let it soak for a day, drain, add water to dilute and apply liberally.
**If you are in to experimenting, look up other companion plants and give them a try. You just might invent a new recipe!



Caterpillar Pest Control
Hand picking for caterpillars is very effective. Just pluck them off and remove them from the garden. The garlic and red pepper spray and the wormwood spray below work well for moth caterpillars.

Garlic and Red Pepper Spray
Cut up one un-peeled onion and one un-peeled head of garlic. Add with one heaping tablespoon of red pepper to three pints water in a saucepan. Cook about 20 minutes on low heat. Let the spray cool. Pour it in glass jars and cover with a lid. It will keep in the refrigerator over a month. When you are ready to use the herbal spray, use one tablespoon per pint of water. Adding Ivory Snow increases effectiveness (soapy water is a good natural pest control by itself if you spray it directly on the insect.)

Rabbit deterrent
Pepper spray is often given as a good rabbit deterrent but consider a wire fence around the perimeter of your garden. That may save you the frustration of having all your leafy greens become gourmet rabbit food. Pepper sprinkled on the ground around your plants may work as a deterrent. Some people recommend bath powder with talc.

Geranium
Red spider mites steer clear of oil of geranium. Plant it near grapes and corn to repel cabbage worm too.

Horseradish
Deters potato bugs.

Hyssop
Plant it in vegetable and flower gardens as an insect repellant - particularly good against white butterfly. It is recommended as a good companion planting for cabbages and grapes. But don't plant it near radishes.

Lavender and Lavender Bags
Helps deter mice, ticks and moths. Attracts butterflies.

Mint
Spreads prolifically, so keep it contained. It deters fleas, ants, mice and cabbage butterfly. Don't plant it near parsley.

Oregano
Repels cabbage butterfly and cucumber beetle if planted near cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber and grape vine.

Rue
Repels flies, and deters dogs and cats. It's great planted near strawberries and fig trees.

Tansy
Works to repel ants, flies, fleas and moths, especially good near fruit trees. You can crush the leaves and rub it on an animal’s fur to repel fleas.

Thyme
Deters cabbage worm when planted near cole crops (cabbage, collard, broccoli, etc.)

Wormwood
The plant itself is a deterrent to slugs and snails. It can be made into an effective herbal insecticide spray against slugs, snails and caterpillars. To make wormwood insecticide spray, simmer leaves in at least three pints of water. Strain, cool and store in glass jars. You may add soapy water to increase effectiveness.



Baking Soda Spray

1 quart of water
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 squirt of liquid, non-detergent soap

Spray infected leaves thoroughly, including undersides and stems. In damp weather repeat regularly. This is an effective mixture to help prevent botrytis, black spot, rust, and powdery mildew.



Potato Starch Spray

1 quart of water
2 to 4 tablespoons of potato flour
1 squirt of liquid, non-detergent soap

In addition to fungal diseases, this blend is also an effective insect spray.


Sulfur has been used as a natural fungicide for thousands of years. It can be purchased as a liquid or a powder. Sulfur acts as a preventative, and should therefore be applied before the disease is evident. It is useless to spray after the blight is already visible.

Bordeaux Mix is a very powerful, organic fungicide that has been in use for centuries. It is available commercially as a powder which can be dusted onto plants, or mixed with water and sprayed. Read the directions very carefully, and if in doubt, use a solution that has been severely diluted. In excessively high concentrations, Bordeaux Mix can kill the plant.

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