I bet you didn’t know this, but…
I didn’t exactly grow up in an “organic” household.
In fact, my dad has worked in the farm chemical industry for years, both selling and applying herbicides and pesticides.
I grew up surrounded by every form of herbicide and insecticide you could imagine. All of our childhood coffee cups and kitchen utensils were emblazoned with the names of various chemicals and seed treatments. I remember the seeds we planted in our garden each year were bright pink from the “pre-treatment” applied to them.
And as you can imagine, it makes for some, um, interesting conversations around the table when we go back to visit, considering I’m now the “Prairie Homestead Girl.”
But here I am, 20 years later, passionate about figuring out a better way. However I have to admit, the bugs eating my garden this year have made me want to say bad words…
My DIY Liquid Fence recipe is a good option for keeping out bunnies, but I still needed an organic pest control method to keep insects from mowing down my beans and beets.
I blame it on the extremely abnormal amounts of moisture dry ol’ Wyoming has had this year, but it’s been a constant battle to keep my poor little plants from being devoured.
I developed a system with the Prairie Kids where I pay them a penny per potato beetle picked. That has actually worked out pretty well, but my bigger problem are my other plants. The leaves are turning into lace, and I have yet to see the little munchers who are responsible…
Which is why I turned to this homemade organic pest control garden spray. So far, it’s seemed to help the plants I’ve sprayed it on, the key is just being diligent with your spraying efforts.
Why use these ingredients?
Onions & Garlic: It’s a fact that most pests (including rabbits) don’t love the strong flavors of onion and garlic. Interestingly enough, the green bean rows next to my onion rows are mostly unaffected by nibbling insects, while the rows further away look like green bean lace.
Mint: Critters and creepy-crawlies tend to steer clear of mint as well. I love adding peppermint essential oil to my homemade bug sprays, and fresh mint leaves work the same way. I used the basic peppermint growing in my herb garden, but you could really use any variety of mint you have hanging around.
Cayenne: Spicy stuff isn’t the way to win your way to a hungry bug’s heart. But that’s what we want.
Soap: Adding a bit of liquid soap (like this) to your organic pest control spray helps it cling to the plant’s leaves.
Organic Pest Control Garden Spray Recipe
Makes one gallon
- 1 medium onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups mint leaves OR 20 drops peppermint essential oil
- 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap (or biodegradable liquid dish soap)
Place the onion, garlic, peppermint, and cayenne in a blender, and pulverize it.
Allow the mixture to soak/steep for a couple hours (optional, but do it if you can), then strain with a fine mesh strainer.
Add the onion/garlic mixture to a one-gallon contain (an old milk jug or vinegar jug will work), add the soap, and enough water to make one gallon.
Pour into a spray bottle and spritz on any plants being attacked by bugs.
Spray 1-2 times per week, or after a heavy rain.
- Make sure you use a super-fine mesh strainer, (or maybe even cheesecloth?) to strain this stuff. Otherwise, it’ll clog your sprayer, which is annoying.
- It’s best to NOT spray this on the parts of the plant you want to eat, just so you don’t end up with a little extra “flavoring”…
- I generally try to spray in the evening when the sun isn’t as hot, otherwise, there’s a risk of the spray and sun combination burning the leaves of your plants a bit.
- I don’t spray this over my entire garden, just on the plants being eaten the most.
- I use this liquid castile soap or this natural liquid dish soap, just in case you were wondering (both are affiliate links).
- Place the onion, garlic, peppermint, and cayenne in a blender, and pulverize it.
- Allow the mixture to soak/steep for a couple hours (optional, but do it if you can), then strain with a fine mesh strainer.
- Add the onion/garlic mixture to a one-gallon contain (an old milk jug or vinegar jug will work), add the soap, and enough water to make one gallon.
- Pour into a spray bottle and spritz on any plants being attacked by bugs.
- Spray 1-2 times per week, or after a heavy rain.