A home garden can truly make you begin to appreciate the daily trials and tribulations of the small farmers who grow our food. From weather, weeds, and insects, apart from the considerable challenges offered by soil fertility, you’ll find it can be it can be an incredibly humbling experience to try to put food on the table with a home garden – especially when following organic protocols that eschew the usage of quick yet potentially harmful factory-created chemical solutions, such as chemical herbicides, poisonous pesticides, and artificial fertilisers. We’re taking aim at insect pests, which have the potential to turn your lush garden into their own all-you-can-eat buffet paradise!
8 Natural and homemade insecticides
These are the smart and earth-friendly eight that are going to help you keep hungry critters at bay!
1. Oil spray insecticide
A homemade insecticide made from vegetable oil mixed with a mild soap (such as Dr. Bronners castile soap) can have a devastating effect on certain troublesome insects, such as aphids, mites, thrips, etc.
2. Soap spray insecticide
A very similar homemade pesticide to the oil spray is a soap spray, which is also effective for controlling mites, aphids, whiteflies, beetles, and other hungry little insects.
3. Neem oil insecticide
An oil extracted from the seeds of the neem tree is a powerful natural insecticide, capable of disrupting the life cycle of insects at all stages (adult, larvae, and egg), making it a great resource for the organic gardener.
4. Diatomaceous earth as a natural pesticide
This natural substance with a somewhat unwieldy name is made from a sedimentary rock created by fossilized algae (diatoms), and which is a rather abundant resource (diatomaceous earth is said to make up 26% of the earth’s crust by weight). Diatomaceous earth has a number of uses in and around the home, and acting as a natural insecticide is just one of them.
5. Garlic insecticide spray
Garlic is well-known for its pungent aroma, which is delectable to some and yet repellent to others, and it is this strong scent that comes into play when used as a natural insecticide. Actually, it’s not really clear if garlic spray and chile spray (below) are actually insecticides or are more likely insect repellents, but either way, these common kitchen ingredients can be used to knock down, or even knock out, insect infestations in the garden.
6. Chile pepper insecticide spray
Similar to garlic spray, chile pepper spray is a great homemade natural insect repellent that can be used for a variety of different pests. Chile spray can be made from either fresh hot peppers or chile pepper powder.
7. All-in-one homemade insecticide spray
From the folks at Rodale’s Organic Life comes this all-in-one DIY natural insecticide, which is said to be a combination of many different recipes submitted by readers.
8. Tomato leaf as a natural insecticide
I have to admit that this one is new to me, but I’ve seen enough mentions of it now to warrant its inclusion here as a natural pesticide. Tomato plants are part of the nightshade family, and as such, contain alkaloids such as the aptly named “tomatine,” which can effectively control aphids and other insects.
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Image credit:CC BY 2.0 Barbara Eckstein