Knowledge of natural homemade insecticides will go a long way towards the goal of producing non-toxic, healthy vegetables.
Growing a garden is a fantastic way to get in touch with the food chain. It will increase your appreciation of the bounty of nature and the herculean efforts invested by those who farm our food.
If you want to ensure that your efforts are sustainable, you’re going to want to avoid the use of chemical insecticides and focus on natural homemade alternatives.
Fortunately, we’ve got some great options for you that you can put into action today if you want to.
Top Homemade Insecticides
Tomato Leaves – Bring On The Nightshade
Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family and thus contain alkaloids that are deadly to insects. Human beings can shrug off these alkaloids fairly easily.
To make a tomato leaf insecticide you’ll need to get 2 cups of chopped fresh tomato leaves (make sure to take them from the base of the tomato plant) and mix them into a quart of water and then let it sit overnight.
Then just strain and remove the chopped plant material and spray it onto your plants.
Chili Pepper – Pepper Spray For Bugs
Actually, this is also pepper spray for people, so please make sure to put some gloves on and ideally, use a face mask when preparing this insecticide. It can be incredibly unpleasant if this stuff gets into your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Get some fresh peppers (or if they’re not available – you can use powdered chili) and cut them up and then drop ½ a cup of them into a quart of boiling water. Cool it. Strain it. Add some drops of liquid soap to the mix. Shake it and spray it on. (If using chili powder – elect for a tablespoon instead of ½ a cup).
Diatomaceous Earth – Nature’s Deadly Soil
We should warn you that some animals do not react well to diatomaceous earth and pet owners should carefully research the use of this before buying it. However, assuming your pets are fine with it – you just scatter it over the plants. It’s one of the easiest natural and homemade insecticides to use. It works very well on tomato plants, we find.
It works by dehydrating bugs to death by drawing water out of the fatty tissue in their bodies. You need to reapply it after it rains though.
Soap Spray – Simple To Make
Take 1.5 teaspoons of liquid soap and shake them in a quart of water. Spray it all over the plants. The mild soap blocks the pores of the insects it comes into contact with and this, essentially, makes them suffocate to death. Pest control is rarely pleasant for the pests, sadly.
Use this solution in the early morning or the late evening for the best pest control results. Don’t use it in the middle of the day – it will just evaporate.
Oil Spray – Soap On Steroids
Mix a cup of vegetable oil with a tablespoon of liquid soap (mild dish soap) – then shake it up. Then take 2 teaspoons of your oil mix and throw it in a quart of water. Shake this thoroughly. Then spray it all over the infested plants that your infestations are on.
This is slightly stickier than just soap spray and the vegetable oil spray insecticide may be more effective on stubborn insect populations. This natural insecticide also seems to be less harsh on beneficial insects.
Neem Oil – Insecticide and Fungicide As One
Get some Neem Oil (it’s made from the extract of a neem tree) from your local garden store and then follow the directions on the bottle for mixing it. This is one of the more popular natural insecticide choices and it’s one of our favorite natural pesticides. You’ll need a spray bottle for it, though.
Then spray it liberally all over everything in your garden that has a pest problem. This insect spray is very effective.
Neem oil comes from the seeds of a tree and is a very powerful insecticide.
It can destroy insects at any stage of development (from egg to adult) and yet it is 100% biodegradable and utterly non-toxic to all animal life (even fish).
You may also find that, due to its anti-fungal properties, it gets rid of any mildew on your plants.
Garlic Blast – Insecticide Or Repellant?
This is an awesome homemade spray. Take 2 bulbs of garlic – throw them in a blender and turn them into a puree with a tiny bit of water. Take the mix and dump it into a quart of water. Let it sit overnight. Strain it. Then add a teaspoon of liquid detergent. Shake well. Then take 1 cup of the mix and add it to 1 quart of water. Spray it over your plants.
Nobody is quite sure whether garlic spray kills insects or whether they just hate the smell and leave. But who cares? The results for your garden are the same and this homemade insecticide leaves affected plants clear with just a few drops of garlic!
A Bit Of Everything – All Out Insecticide
Take an onion, a bulb of garlic, and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and then throw them in a blender. Let the mix sit for an hour.
Then put it in a quart of water and add a tablespoon of liquid soap. Shake well. Then use it on your plants, it ought to be the strongest natural pesticide you can make as it combines almost all the other methods in one.
Just getting started with gardening at home? Check out our 12 Best Kitchen Garden Guide Tips For Growing Vegetables At Home. We’ve also got some great resources on Market Farming & Gardening.