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Don’t you find it frustrating when those pesky little creepy crawlies start devouring your vegetables that you have labored long and hard over? If you are like me and practice organic growing, a homemade organic pesticide is the way to go.
You can never tell if a manufactured “organic” pesticide is in fact truly that. However, if you make your own at home, you know exactly what ingredients have gone into it.
Let’s get down to a few organic pesticides you can make for yourself.
Neem Oil Pesticide
The neem tree is a tree native to the Indian subcontinent. It is part of the mahogany family and the oil extracted from the seeds make an effective, natural pesticide. The hormone disrupting properties of the oil affect the life cycle of insects at all stages of their development – adult, larvae, and egg.
The neem oil also discourages the insects from feeding on the leaves, as it is unpleasant for the insects. , making it a great resource for the organic gardener. This neem oil organic pesticide is biodegradable and nontoxic to birds, mammals, bees, fish and plants. It is not only effective against over 200 insects pests, but is also a natural fungicide. This property makes it able to control powdery mildew, rusts and other fungal infections on plants.
To make the neem oil organic pesticide, follow the steps below.
- Mix 2 teaspoons neem oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap
- Pour this mixture into 1 quart (about 1 litre) of water and shake well to mix.
- Fill a spray bottle with the mixture.
To use the organic pesticide, simply spray it on the leaves or any other part of the plant that is affected. You can spray your plants as a preventative measure, before they show signs of fungal infection or insect attack.
You will have to re-apply the mixture once every two weeks or when you see the pests return, and re-apply after rain.
Epsom Salt Organic Pesticide
Epsom salt is useful in many ways in the garden. It makes a great organic pesticide and pest deterrent and at the same time is beneficial for the plants.
You can use epsom salt in two ways, either spraying as a solution, or sprinkling around the base of the plants.
To make the spray, follow these easy steps.
- Dissolve one cup of epsom salt in 5 gallons (about 18 litres) of water.
- Pour into a spray bottle and spray liberally on the plants.
This pesticide works great on slugs and beetles as the concentration is strong enough to burn them and make them stay away.
To use the sprinkle method, simply sprinkle some epsom salts around the base of your plants. You can do this every second week. This method has the added advantage of being beneficial to your plant nutrition. The magnesium content in the epsom salts helps the roots of the plant to absorb important nutrients such as nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorous easier.
Tomato Leaf Organic Pesticide
This natural, organic pesticide is great if you are growing tomatoes. Tomatoes are related to the toxic nightshade family. This means, that like their relatives, they contain alkaloids which can be an effective deterrent for insects, in particular, aphids.
To make tomato leaf pesticide infusion, follow these steps.
- Pick leaves from the bottom of the tomato plant.
- Chop the leaves till you have 2 cups of the freshly chopped tomato leaves
- Place the chopped leaves in about 1 quart (about 1 litre) of water. Let it steep overnight.
- Strain out the plant material and decant into a spray bottle
To use the tomato leaf pesticide, simply spray the mixture onto the plant foliage.
Hot Pepper Garlic Pesticide
You will need to take care when preparing the ingredients for this organic pesticide, as they can cause a few tears if not handled correctly. Use gloves if necessary.
- Chop 1/2 cup (113 grams) of hot peppers
- Chop 1/2 cup (113 grams) of garlic cloves or onions.
- Combine the peppers and garlic / onions.
- Blend the vegetables together in an electric blender to form a thick paste.
- Add the vegetable paste to 2 cups (500 milliliters) of warm water.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Pour the solution into a glass jar an put in in a sunny spot for 24 hours.
- Strain the mixture, removing the vegetables and collecting the water in another container.
This resulting infused water is your pesticide that you can decant into a clean spray bottle.
To use, simply spray your plants with the organic pesticide every four of five days.
Test your Organic Pesticide First
All the above mentioned solutions should be safe on your plants, but as a precaution, you can first test the mix by spraying it onto a small portion of your plant. Wait to see if there is a detrimental side-effect such as wilting or colour changes.
It detrimental side effects manifest, your solution is probably too strong and should be watered down a bit, or try one of the other remedies mentioned.
Planting marigolds is always a good first line of organic defence that you can try as an alternative.
You may also be interested in our Organic Rooting Hormone.
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