Melanie has been gardening since she was a little girl. Follow her on Instagram @ValpoMedia.
Growing an organic garden allows you to have tastier fruits and veggies, to eat healthier meals, and to reduce pollutants in the environment. Regardless of your reasons, you'll probably find that insects (and other pests) also love the taste of the fruits and veggies in your garden.
In order to have your organic vegetables make it through the season, you'll need to use some sort of pesticide. Luckily, you have tons of options at your disposal when it comes to keeping pests away, while maintaining that special organic quality for your garden.
Simply try these recipes for environmentally friendly insecticides.
All-Purpose Garlic and Onion Spray
Garlic isn't just for warding off vampires! Garlic and onions are great for all-purpose pest controls. To make this spray, you'll need:
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, minced
- 4 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
- Mix everything together and let it sit for about an hour.
- Strain the garlic and onion out, put the liquid in a spray bottle, and enjoy a bug-free zone.
- If you want to up the ante, add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. This will increase the potency of the spray. Isn't cayenne pepper awesome for adding a bit of kick to everything?
This spray loses its potency after a few days, so make sure you use it right away. If you find that you're not using the entire mixture, just cut the recipe in half.
Your garlic and onion spray will be one of your handiest defenses against garden pests, but there are others that have a more specific purpose that you may be interested in (like an insecticide specifically for ants or aphids).
Mineral Oil Spray to Get Rid of Eggs and Larvae
Want to get rid of pests before they hatch? Try a mineral oil spray:
- 1 teaspoon of mineral oil
- 1 cup of water
You can mix the mineral oil and water right in the spray bottle. Shake and spray onto any plant you wish to treat.
This mixture will not only kill insects, but it will dry up any eggs bugs have laid. Did I mention it's totally plant-friendly?
Citrus Cayenne Spray (for Ants)
Add one teaspoon of citrus oil, one teaspoon cayenne pepper, and one cup of warm water to a spray bottle. Shake until well-mixed.
The spray is effective in getting rid of ants.
Get Rid of Bees and Wasps
Wasps and bees hate eucalyptus. Eucalyptus oil can be expensive, so put a few drops in the areas where the bees are "bugging" you.
If you can't get close enough to the area for fear of getting stung, just put the oil into a small spray bottle and add water. Shake this mixture and spray. Even though it's diluted, it should still do the trick and it's far better than getting stung!
Baking Soda (for Ants)
Baking soda really has too many household purposes for someone to not regularly have a million boxes on hand!
Sprinkle a bit of baking soda wherever you have ants that you want to get rid of.
Elder Leaves (for Aphids, Midges, and Cucumber Beetles)
Boil elder leaves (the more leaves, the more potent your mix) for half an hour. Strain out the elder leaves and add the remaining mixture to a sprayer. Spray this mixture in areas where you would like to repel aphids, midges, and cucumber beetles.
Note: Do not consume this mixture. Keep elder leaves and your spray away from children. Elder leaves are poisonous.
Orange Spray (for Ants, Aphids, and Gnats)
- Peel one orange and add the peels to two cups of water.
- Boil this and let it sit overnight.
- Add a 1/4 teaspoon of castille soap and stir.
- Strain out the orange peels and add the mixture to a spray bottle.
This will help you fight ants, aphids, and gnats.
Certain Spices Are Great Against Aphids
Any mixture that contains cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, liquid dish soap, or rosemary as a main ingredient is the best defense against aphids.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Melanie Shebel
Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on February 23, 2013:
I love reading and writing about organic gardening. I enjoyed you hub. Voted up and FB shared.
moussa83 on August 10, 2012:
As well as planting mint helps to reduce some of the bugs
Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on June 23, 2012:
Mel I am so glad I caught this! I just planted a garden and everything is coming up beautifully but I see evidence that I have free loaders!
I sprayed stuff to kill the Japanese Beetles on my roses but I didn't want it on the food plants. I am goingnto whip up a batch of garlic and onion spray today! I was watering a bit ago - and I could see stuff jumping around - EW! But I want an organic garden - so if imgo spraying pesticide on it - well there goes the organic!
Up and way excellent! Thank you very much!
kelleyward on June 23, 2012:
Thanks for writing this Melbel! I'm going to make some of what you suggested for my garden. The insects keep eating it up! Voted up and shared! Kelley
RoxiM from West Virginia on June 08, 2012:
Yesterday I mixed up some homemade insecticidal soap. I used Neem soap (grated a bar into a glass pot), some tea tree oil soap (last bit left in a bottle), cayenne, and garlic. I heated it all on the stove until the soap dissolved, and I'm going to put it in a spray bottle and try it out on my plants. Thanks for the inspiration!
Tonja Petrella from Michigan on June 07, 2012:
R Talloni sent me here because of a question I asked. This is fantastic! I am having such a huge problem. Bugs are eating my Clematis as soon as they blossom and my roses look like skeletons. They've never been this bad. I am going to try some of these!
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on June 07, 2012:
Very interesting! Now, if you just had a natural remedy for fire ants (much more hardy and attack-resistant than ordinary ants), that would be great! They're taking over my lawn....
Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on June 06, 2012:
I notice that some plants, even fruits and vegetables, are never touched by insects. Is this an indication that they could be useful for fighting off pests? I do not want to prevent pollination. What is your advice?
I discovered garlic to be a great insecticide when I noticed that insects never ate mine. Thanks for these recipes. I never knew about most of them.
RTalloni on June 06, 2012:
I've seen some of these organic pesticide recipes before, but not all. Thanks bunches for putting this together for our summer season outdoors!
Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 06, 2012:
This is great. So well put togather. I love the idea of making this from safe simple ingrediants?
moonlake from America on June 06, 2012:
I will have to try this I have potato beetles in my flowers and I'm sure when our vegetable garden comes up they will head over there. Thanks for all the good information. Voted up and shared.
Ann M Reid from Lancaster County, PA on June 02, 2012:
Great info! Another natural solution that works amazingly well on aphids are beneficial bugs like green lacewings and lady bugs. You can order these online for delivery several times during the season. This combination of green lacewings and ladybugs have reduced my aphid problems by about 95 percent. I understand that chickens are a great solutions for things like cabbage loopers, beetles and slugs. Homemade traps for slugs made from reused small plastic food tubs filled with beer and sunk at ground level attract slugs with their yeasty smell. This is a reasonably effective, natural way of trapping and drowning the slugs, too.
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on June 01, 2012:
Thanks for writing this, melbel. I need to start treating my plants and I wasn't keen on using chemical insecticides. This recipes should do the track. I'll be emailing this to my daughter as she is looking for solutions too.
Voted up, useful and interesting. Socially shared.
Melissa Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on May 31, 2012:
Oh those veggies look so yummy!!! Thank you for this hub! We just planted a ton of seeds and the seedlings look awesome, but the gnats are driving me insane! This is exactly what I was looking for. THANK YOU!!!