Food

The 3 Best DIY Garden Pest Sprays

With these safe, effective and organic DIY formulas, you can keep pests our of your garden without using toxic chemicals.

Photo Credit: PEPPERSMINT/Shutterstock

Do you want to keep your garden free of pests, but don't want to use toxic chemicals that could harm your health and the environment?

Think garlic, onions, strong-smelling roots and spices for repelling garden pests instead of store-bought pesticides made in laboratories by chemical companies. Nature provides all the safe, organic ingredients to make your own formulas of non-toxic garden pest sprays that you could need.

Keep in mind that a few bugs won’t hurt most plants. In fact, there are a host of insects — ladybugs, lacewings, aphid midges, braconid wasps, damsel bugs and tachinid flies, to name a few — that are beneficial for your garden by eating unwanted pests.

Sometimes simple solutions for less toxic living are there if you just learn the simple know-how and use your common sense. Hosing bugs off a plant with water is often all that is needed.

Here are the three best DIY nontoxic garden pest sprays. These ingredients have been used as repellents successfully for years.

Garlic Spray

The smell of garlic is very repellent for garden pests.

Ingredients

1 head garlic
2 cups boiling water

Peel and mash the garlic. Place it in a pint mason jar and cover with boiling water. Screw on the lid and let set overnight. Strain. Place 1cup in a spray bottle with 1 additional cup of water. Spray on infested areas. Freeze the rest for another time.

Makes 4 cups spray

Soap Spray

Soap is used here as an insecticide. It kills pests by dehydrating them.

Ingredients

1 to 2 tablespoons liquid soap (real soap, not detergent)
1 gallon water

Be sure not to use more than 2 tablespoons soap; too much can kill the leaves. Combine the ingredients in a pail. Transfer 2 cups to a spray bottle. Spray infested areas.

Makes 1 gallon

Peppermint Soapy Spray Variation: Use liquid Castile soap with peppermint. Peppermint is a pest repellent in its own right.

Neem Oil

Neem oil, a gum extracted from an evergreen tree, is an excellent all-purpose pesticide.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons essential oil of neem
2 cups water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray on infested areas.

Makes 2 cups

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Annie B. Bond is the author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999). She is the co-author of True Food: Eight Simple Steps to a Healthier You, winner of the Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World.

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