A balanced garden is a healthy garden. Not all bugs are bad, in fact, there are many good insects you want in your garden that will feast on the bad ones, helping to keep the destructive pests in check. Toxic pesticides cause an imbalance in your garden because they don't discriminate between the beneficial insects and the harmful ones. The imbalance caused by toxic pesticides presents a perfect opportunity for the damaging pests to multiply without any population check, creating an even bigger problem and a vicious cycle.
But there's another way! These natural sprays I'm about to list for you deter the harmful pests while leaving the beneficial ones alone. The best part is these pesticides inexpensive and are easy to make at home with ingredients you probably already have at home!
Warning: These sprays should only be used during the vegetative stage. Applying these spray on fresh flowers may disturb the trichome development, plus it probably wouldn't be enjoyable to smoke buds covered in habaneros.
Hot Peppery Spray
Hot pepper spray is one of the most effective and inexpensive natural sprays that you can make at home. Hot peppers will repel almost all destructive pests from your garden without harming the beneficial insects, including pollinators. You're going to be working with fresh hot peppers which can seriously irritate your hands, eyes, and throat so be sure to wear gloves, goggles, and tie a shirt or towel around your mouth while you're creating this potent spray.
All you need for this recipe is:
- Two cups of hot peppers (habaneros work great)
- A tablespoon of cayenne pepper
- A bulb of garlic
- A couple of drops of natural dish soap
- Four gallons of water
If you want to make more or less than four gallons, use these ratios to create a larger or smaller batch. Start by chopping up the hot peppers into smaller pieces and place them in a blender or food processor with the entire head of garlic and the tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Add ½ cup of water and blend. Add this hot pepper mixture to four gallons of water, cover, and let sit overnight. Strain with cheesecloth or fine metal mesh, add a couple of drops of natural dish soap to help the mixture stick to the plants. Thoroughly coat your plants with this mixture at dusk. If you're battling pests, you may want to spray every couple of days until the problem subsists.
You can battle pesky spider mites with some salt, Himalayan crystal salt to be exact. This particular salt, known in the Himalayas as White Gold, is superior to iodized salt and sea salt because it remains untouched by environmental toxins and impurities. With this all-natural spray, you can kiss your spider mites away.
Simply mix two tablespoons of the mineral-rich salt into one gallon of warm water, stir, and apply to your plants.
Essential Oil Spray
Essential oils are potent, concentrated terpenes extracted from plants. In this spray, we're going to be using Marigold Oil, Rosemary Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, and Peppermint Oil. Each of the four oils works wonders at deterring pests on their own, but when combined their benefits are enhanced significantly. Marigold, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint essential oils help deter aphids, whitefly, spider mites, nematodes, ants, and flea beetles. Pests find their food by smell and chemical signals so coating your plants in different pheromones will confuse the destructive insects causing them to search for food elsewhere.
To make the spray, first create a blend of the essential oils at a 1:1:1:1 ratio.
Take one teaspoon of this blend, a couple of drops of natural dish soap, and add it to one gallon of water. Then simply mix and spray on your plants in the early morning.
Garlic's pungent odor successfully deters destructive insects, such as aphids and leaf-munching beetles, from wanting to eat or lay eggs on your plants. All you need for this recipe is garlic and water. How much garlic you use is dependent on your current pest situation. If you're simply using this as a preventative spray, you can use a bulb of garlic per gallon of water. However, if you're on the brink of an infestation, the spray needs to be much more concentrated at about 16 bulbs per gallon (since garlic isn't toxic, you can add even more if you'd like).
Simply crush the garlic (or puree in a blender), mix into boiling water, and let infuse overnight. Strain before using in a spray bottle, so the pieces of garlic don't clog the nozzle. Coat your plants thoroughly (be sure to hit the bottoms of the leaves) and say goodbye to your aphid problem!
There you have it! Four natural alternatives that are equally, if not more, effective than toxic pesticides and you can feel great growing clean, pesticide-free medicine.