Organic Gardening Arsenal

I’m still battling aphids and other pests in my garden. In the process I’ve developed quite an arsenal of organic sprays and other treatments for killing and repelling insects and fighting fungal diseases.  Here’s just a few of them (hat tip to “How To Garden Advice” for a good number of these recipes and suggestions):

Bug Spray 1 (Insecticide)

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp dish soap

Mix & mist directly onto plants. The soap causes aphids to dehydrate and die.

Bug Spray 2 (Insecticide)

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp dish soap

Mix & mist directly onto plants. The oil will clog aphids’ pores so they suffocate and die.

Bug Spray 3 (Plant diseases)

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 tsp liquid soap
  • 1 quart water

Puree garlic in 1 cup water. Add remaining water and puree again. Strain & add soap. To use , mix 1:10 with water and mist directly onto plants.

Bug Spray 4 (Repellent)

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Seeds from 2 hot chili peppers (jalepeno, Serrano, etc)
  • 4 cups water

Boil together for 40 min. Cool and strain. Mist directly onto plants. Keep in fridge when not in use. This mixture repels insects.

Bug Spray 5 (Insecticide)

  • 2 tsp neem oil
  • ½ tsp liquid detergent
  • 1 quart water

Use warm water if possible. Mix the warm water with the soap first! Then slowly add the oil while stirring vigorously. Fill the mix into your sprayer. Keep shaking or otherwise agitating the mix while spraying. Use the mixture within eight hours.

Bug Spray 6 (Insecticide)

  • Diatomaceous earth

Mist powder directly onto plants. Slugs and caterpillars are cut up by the sharp edges and die.

Bug Spray 7 (Repellent)

  • 1 handful basil
  • 1 quart water

Steep basil in water in fridge for one week. Strain. Mist directly onto plants as a repellent.

Bug Spray 8 (Plant diseases)

  • Vinegar

Fights fungus diseases, some insects, and kills weeds

Bug Goo

Mix equal parts mineral oil, liquid soap, and petroleum jelly. Spread on plants to trap insects.


Other Odds & Ends Ideas for Organic Insect Control

(again from How To Garden Advice)

Aphid lions are attracted to borage. Aphid lions are one of the friendly insects in your garden, dining on many other pesty garden insects.

Canola oil:
Smothers insects

Cinnamon powder:
Is an antifungal and repels ants

If you have a problem with cutworms, try sprinkling cornmeal around the plants. They eat the cornmeal, but can’t digest it.

Essential Oils:
Use 10 drops of a very fragrant essential oil like mint or pennyroyal mixed with 1/8 tsp liquid soap and 1 qt water.  Use as a preventative measure, by spraying on the leaves of plants that are most likely to get attacked by insects.

Fireflies are very heavy eaters of some of the most pesty garden insects (larvae, mites, slugs, snails, cutworms, etc.).  You can attract fireflies by leaving an area near your garden that’s not mowed (and that isn’t treated with chemicals!).

Petroleum Jelly
To keep ants from eating your plants, spread a thick layer of petroleum jelly (even Vicks will work!) around the plant’s stem or trunk

White Flour:
If you have a problem with cabbage worms or grashoppers, go out in the morning while there is still dew on your plants. Sprinkle them with flour. Then the next day, wash off the flour and the dead bugs.

Helpful Little Critters:
Salamanders, toads, turtles and lizards all help your garden by making meals out of insects. Attract these garden friends by leaving small piles of rocks or wood for them to hide in.

Most snakes are quite harmless and are even helpful in your garden, in that they eat insects and rodents!

As much as spiders give us “the creeps,” they are so important in helping to keep the insect population under control in your garden. You can encourage spiders to patrol your garden, by building little shelters out of mounds of twigs or rocks. I’ve also heard of those who take terra cotta pots and turn them upside down in the garden, leaving them as “spider houses” around the garden.

Sugar water sprayed on plants infected with aphids, scale, whiteflies or mites, can attract ladybird beetles (who will eat these pesty critters for you). Spray the sugar water onto the plants, but don’t spray any on the ladybird beetles.

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