Frugal Garden Tip #7 – Make Your Own Bug Spray
Gardening season is in full swing by now and you probably have all kinds of plants thriving on your deck and in the garden. Unfortunately garden pests can be thriving too! Your new plants are especially susceptible to all crawling things – slugs, spiders and aphids – to name a few.
You can fight back by creating a gardeners arsenal of helpful and easy to find battle supplies. These are things that you probably already have around your home and once you begin using them, you won’t want to be without.
While most of these are non-toxic to children and pets, you should still be careful and not leave them laying around.
The Gardeners Arsenal for Pest Control
- Liquid Soap – use Dr. Bronner’s, Fels Naphtha or any pure castile soap you find at the grocery. Liquid soap is the basis for many sprays because it allow the ingredients to blend together. It also helps your brew to penetrate insect bodies. See the recipe for Rosemary Herbal Brew, below.
- Essential Oils – Orange, Lemon and Peppermint are reasonably priced and have beneficial properties.
- Borax – Kills roaches and ants. Make an ant hotel from a plastic yogurt cup: mix together 10 teaspoons maple or corn syrup (the bait) and 1 teaspoon of borax (the switch). Put it in a plastic yogurt cup and poke a hole in the lid, big enough for them to get inside.
- Tabasco Sauce – A fantastic pesticide and repellent. Make a Spicy Pepper Zap: 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce, 1/8 teaspoon liquid soap. Shake well and place into a spray bottle. Spray it right on those little buggers!
- Vegetable Oil – can be useful to smother insects and acts as a physical barrier. Mixed with soap, it will destroy most insects and their eggs.
- Vinegar, white and apple cider – full strength it kills weeds, dilute to 8 parts water / 1 part vinegar to destroy pests and fight fungus.
- Baking Soda – Treat rust or black spot with this spray: Mix 1.5 teaspoons baking soda, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap, 1/2 cup white vinegar into 1 gallon of water. No need to dilute. Place some into your spray bottle, shake, and apply weekly.
- Garlic – Puree 2 garlic cloves in a blender, slowly add 1 qt of water. Strain and add 1/4 teaspoon of liquid soap. To use: Dilute 10 parts water to 1 part garlic mixture and spray on pests and diseased plants.
- Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol – Destroys pests by drying them out. To remove scale, use a mixture of 1 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp soap, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol to 1 quart of water .
- Espom Salts – Give your plants a quick shot of magnesium, and discover 25 ways to use Epsom Salts in this post.
Rosemary Herbal Brew for Garden Pest Control
This herbal brew works wonders on aphids, cucumber beetles and cabbage worms. Mix up a batch with any potent herb – like mint, sage, lavender or rosemary – whatever you are cutting back and have extra of.
For this recipe you will need:
- 1/2 cup Rosemary leaves
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoons of liquid soap
Make a strong tea by steeping the water and rosemary leaves for 30 minutes. Once it’s cooled, strain and add the liquid soap. Put your brew into spray bottles without diluting. Store it in a cool dark place.
Garlic-Pepper Spray Stops Bugs
To control insects, use powdered garlic and black pepper in equal parts in a pint of hot water (start with 2 Tablespoons each). I like to use my french press for this, just make sure to run it through the dishwasher before you use it for anything else. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then strain. This mix has done exceptionally well for me. It sprays easily from a spray bottle or hand sprayer and really stops the bugs.
Create your own gardeners arsenal today and win the battle! What other natural garden pest control methods have you used? Share your recipes below.