Homemade Garden Pesticides That Naturally Keep Your Garden Pest Free
Growing your own food offers a lot of amazing benefits, including the ability to control what gets sprayed on what you eat. But pests can make gardening a frustrating experience. Fortunately, when you learn how to make natural garden pesticides, you don’t have to use dangerous pesticides to control these pests.
We’ve previously talked about how you can make homemade weed killer or purchase effective organic weed killers to help you control overwhelming or invasive weeds without harming yourself and the environment. Now, we’re going to take a look at controlling insect pests that view your garden as an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Learn about the dangers of using synthetic pesticides, and then discover how to make natural garden pesticides that will help keep your plants free of pesky bugs.
The Dangers of Pesticide
There’s nothing like growing your own food in your garden. Everything is healthier and tastes so much better than what you buy at the store.
But then, before you know it, you have caterpillars eating your cucumbers, snails devouring your lettuce, and mites making a mess of your green beans.
Even though pest infestations are frustrating, you shouldn’t reach for those harmful, toxic sprays. The sprays might eliminate the bugs, but they’re also bad for you and the environment.
Pesticides Effect on the Environment
Pesticides sprayed on land can make their way into nearby sources of water. These chemicals can then kill fish and other animals. They can also leech into the groundwater and poison our own drinking water.
When pesticides turn into a gas, they can spread far and wide across the land. This can be harmful to people and wildlife.
Pesticides Effect on Human Health
Not only are pesticides terrible for the environment, but they’re also hazardous to your health. Pesticides are stored in your colon, where they slowly poison your body.
Study after study has linked pesticides to birth defects, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. They can also harm the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the endocrine system. They can even pass from mother to fetus during pregnancy.
Plus, even if you wash a piece of fruit before you eat it, you can still consume pesticides that have seeped inside.
How to Make Natural Garden Pesticides That Work
Now that you know why you should never reach for that bottle of synthetic pesticides to control bugs in your garden, it’s time to learn about the best homemade natural garden pesticides.
However, it’s very important to note that just because the following homemade pesticides are natural, that doesn’t mean they can’t harm you, your garden, or other beneficial insects.
Make sure you know which type of pest you’re dealing with and the right way to use each pesticide so you’re doing the least amount of harm to yourself and your garden.
Plus, if you don’t have time to DIY, that’s OK. Just check out this list of the best organic pesticides to find some effective sprays and powders that are already mixed up and ready to go!
1. Natural Insecticide Soap Spray
This natural pesticide soap spray is easy to make and good to have on hand, since it can take care of a variety of common garden pests, such as mites, aphids, white flies, thrips, and mealy bugs.
In a spray bottle, combine:
- 1 quart of water
- 1.5 tablespoons of biodegradable liquid soap
- A few drops of orange or lemon essential oil
Shake well to combine the mixture. Spray your plant thoroughly, making sure you get the underside of the leaves as well.
Although you can apply this soap spray as necessary, you should NOT apply it during the hottest and sunniest part of the day since it can burn the leaves of your plant. Instead, apply it in the early morning or evening.
2. Homemade Vegetable Oil Spray
This homemade vegetable oil insecticide works very similar to the soap spray, which means it’s also good for controlling aphids, mites, and thrips.
To make the vegetable oil spray insecticide, combine the following ingredients in a jar:
Cover the jar and shake the ingredients thoroughly to combine. When you’re ready to apply, add two teaspoons of the oil mixture to one quart of water in a spray bottle. Shake thoroughly, and spray directly on the leaves of the affected plants.
3. Homemade Neem Oil Spray
Neem oil is an amazingly powerful natural insecticide that’s extracted from the seeds of the neem tree. It acts as a hormone disruptor to insects that feed on leaves and other plant parts, and it can disrupt the entire life cycle of insects at all stages (egg, larvae, and adult).
Although neem oil is biodegradable and non-toxic to pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife, it’s highly effective against a variety of common garden insect pests, including aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, powdery mildew, black spot, and more.
It’s VERY IMPORTANT to note that neem oil is toxic to bees if they’re directly exposed to it. Therefore, you need to spray it when bees are not active, such as at dusk, and give the oil time to dry.
To use neem oil as an insecticide, you can either buy a bottle that’s already premixed and ready to go, or you can purchase a concentrate and follow the directions on the back to make the mixture yourself.
When you’re ready to use it, simply spray it on the leaves of the affected plant. You can also use neem oil preventatively by spraying the leaves of plants that are often ruined by insects before they’re actually infested.
4. DIY Garlic and Chili Pesticide Spray
Garlic and chili peppers are both known for their strong aroma, which means they can often act as more of a natural insect repellent than an actual insecticide. No matter how they work, they’re good at keeping away smaller pests, like Japanese beetles, borers, leafhoppers, and slugs, as well as larger nuisances, such as rabbits and deer.
In a bowl that has a spout, combine:
- 1 quart of water
- 1.5 tablespoons of biodegradable liquid soap
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder (you can also ground up fresh or dried peppers)
- 5 cloves of cut and crushed garlic
Let the ingredients steep overnight, then strain and pour into a spray bottle. This mixture will keep for about 2 weeks. When you’re ready to use, spray it liberally on infested plants.
Warning: Chili peppers are also extremely potent to humans! Make sure you wear gloves when you’re making this mixture, and keep the spray away from your eyes, nose, and mouth when you’re using it in the garden.
5. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is an abundant natural substance that’s made from a sedimentary rock created by fossilized algae. You can use it around your home in a number of ways, including a natural ant repellent and a natural insecticide in the garden.
Diatomaceous earth doesn’t poison insects like traditional pesticides. Instead, the powdery substance gets stuck on the insects’ body and dehydrates them.
To apply diatomaceous earth, simply use it to dust the ground around your plants to help control snails, slugs, and other crawling insects. Keep in mind that since it’s a powder, you’ll need to reapply after every rain.
6. Natural Antifungal Spray
Fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, are an especially frustrating garden nuisance to deal with because they can quickly overwhelm your entire plant. What was once a healthy and thriving plant now has leaves covered in patches of white blotches.
Fortunately, this natural antifungal spray can help. To make it, you will need:
Add the baking soda and vegetable oil to one cup of warm water and stir until the powder completely dissolves. Combine this mixture in a spray bottle with the rest of the water.
Before applying the spray, first remove the leaves with the most damage. Then spray the solution on the leaves every few days until the fungus disappears. This mixture works best when it’s made and used immediately.
Organic Pest Control Garden Spray Recipes
You don’t have to let bugs and other pests ruin your garden. Instead, you can still enjoy healthy, organic food and avoid the dangers of synthetic pesticides when you learn how to make these effective natural garden pesticides.
More Helpful Gardening Tips
Did you enjoy learning more about how to make natural garden pesticides? Are you interested in even more excellent tips that can help your garden thrive? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:
- Plant These Vegetables Once and Harvest Them Year After Year
- The Top 10 Must-Have Tools for Gardeners
- Easy-to-Grow Plants Perfect for Beginner Gardeners
- The Best Vegetables for Container Gardens