Natural pest treatments can be made at home from produce you have grown from organic seeds. They provide an easy eat/treat, with discarded onion and garlic tops providing the basis for teas that can be sprayed on, or simply be mashed and placed back in the soil around other plants to drive away insects. This is just one more reason to practice organic gardening methods as they are now returning to the soil and adding to the entire cycle. Plant extra of these plants for use in next year’s garden. Some sprays require the addition of soap; however since it will be put on the food you plan to consume, choose a variety without bleach, preferably castile or an organic type. By combining natural ingredients with organic seeds you can maintain an organic garden that is free of harmful pesticides.
Plant extra onions, garlic, basil, mint, and peppers in the garden for use in treating insects. How great is that, you can eat and treat with produce from the same organic seeds. Good varieties include:
• Organic Tzan Garlic Seed is an early producer with a hot flavor that will work well as a companion plant or for use in sprays.
• Cayenne Long Red Thin Pepper is a good choice for most types of natural insecticides with its zesty hot fire.
• Lemon Basil Seed produces a delicious plant that can be used in companion planting, cooked in meals, drank as a tea, or used in the following sprays.
• Organic Walla Walla onions are easy to grow in most areas, including northern states.
Other items that are useful are soap, oil, and baking soda. Diatomaceous earth can help stop slugs, snails and other crawling insects without harming pets. Rhubarb leaves, potato leaves, and tomato leaves can be made into sprays for aphids, June bugs, grasshoppers and white flies, however they are all poisonous and not recommended for use on food crops.
Chop 2 large hot peppers, one whole garlic clove, one large onion and cover with one gallon of hot water. Allow the mixture to steep overnight, strain and spray on plants as an insecticide. Bugs don’t like onions or garlic and planting them near other plants will also help reduce infestations. A similar recipe calls for 2 cups of cayenne peppers, one gallon water and after the mixture has steeped and been strained, add ¼ cup of soap.
Another method for getting rid of aphids is to spray them with an infusion of basil water that has been steeped overnight. Use 4 parts water, one part fresh basil and one part dishsoap. Two parts water and one part fresh mint leaves can be used for ant spray in the garden.
Pure dish soap with a slight amount of cooking oil added can be mixed with water and sprayed on plants to control insects. Baking soda can be added to the mixture for treating fungus, or can be simply mixed with water and sprayed onto plants.
To control disease and pest, compost garden debris and rotate plants annually. Experiment with companion planting methods which naturally reduce insects. For instance, by planting nasturtiums near melons, you can reduce the number of squash bugs. Disinfect and sterilize potting containers and tools to prevent fungus and diseases from traveling through the garden.