I saw this article by Derek Markham and have added what I use in my garden.
These natural and DIY pesticides are effective at helping to rid your crops of harmful critters, but safe enough to keep from poisoning you and your family.
Having your own garden makes you realise the problems farmers have who grow our food. Going organic is not as quick a fix as chemicals are, but then they are harmful.
When it comes to keeping your garden healthy, there are a number of approaches that can help with your own growing. By applying natural or homemade insecticides, you can reduce the numbers of insects and pests but might not eliminate them all together. Not all insects are harmful, so applying insecticides indiscriminately, especially harsh pesticides that affect even the beneficial insects, can have a detrimental effect on your local garden ecosystem.
6 Natural and homemade insecticides.
I add the following Essential Oils to the mixtures below & I make 5 litres +/- 1gal = 20 drops each of Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Oil, Lavender Oil, Cedarwood Oil. These 5 litres covers my whole garden.
1. Oil spray insecticide
A homemade insecticide made from vegetable oil mixed with a mild soap (such as castile soap) can have a devastating effect on certain troublesome insects, such as aphids, mites, thrips, etc. To make a basic oil spray insecticide, mix 1 cup of vegetable/Neem oil with 1 tablespoon of soap (cover and shake thoroughly), and then when ready to apply, add 2 teaspoons of the oil spray mix with 1 quart/Lit of water, (adjust these measures to make larger quantities), shake thoroughly, and spray directly on the surfaces of the plants which are being affected. The oil coats the bodies of the insects, effectively suffocating them, as it blocks the pores through which they breathe.
2. Soap spray insecticide
A very similar homemade pesticide to the oil spray is a soap spray, which is also effective for controlling mites, aphids, white flies, beetles, and other hungry little insects. To make a basic soap spray insecticide, mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of a mild liquid soap (such as castile soap) with 1 quart/lit of water(adjust these measures to make larger quantities), and spray the mixture directly on the infected surfaces of the plants. A soap spray insecticide works in a similar fashion as an oil spray pesticide, and can be applied as necessary (though it is always recommended to NOT apply it during the hot sunny part of the day, but rather in the evenings or early mornings).
3. Neem oil insecticide
An oil extracted from the seeds of the Neem tree is a powerful natural insecticide, capable of disrupting the life cycle of insects at all stages (adult, larvae, and egg), making it a great resource for the organic gardener. Neem oil acts as a hormone disruptor and as an “antifeedant” for insects that feed on leaves and other plant parts. Neem oil is biodegradable and is nontoxic to pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife, and is effective against a variety of common garden insect pests, as well as being a natural fungicide that can combat powder mildew and other fungal infections on plants. It can be found at many garden stores or natural foods markets. To use Neem oil as an insecticide, either follow the instructions on the bottle, or start out with a basic mixture of 2 teaspoons Neem oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap shaken thoroughly with 1 quart/lit of water (adjust these measures to make larger quantities), and then spray on the affected plant foliage. Neem oil can also be used preventatively by spraying the leaves of plants that are often ravaged by pests, before they’re actually infested.
4. Garlic insecticide spray
Garlic is well-known for its strong smell, it is this strong scent that is effective when used as a natural insecticide. It’s clear if garlic spray and chili spray (below) are actually insecticides or are more likely insect repellents, but either way, these common kitchen ingredients can be used to knock down, or even knock out, insect infestations in the garden. To make a basic garlic spray, take 2 whole bulbs (not just 2 cloves) and puree them in a blender or food processor with a small amount of water. Let the mixture sit overnight, then strain it into a quart jar, adding 1/2 cup of vegetable/Neem oil (optional), 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap, and enough water to fill the jar (adjust these measures to make larger quantities). To use this homemade insecticide, use 1 cup of mixture with 1 quart/lit of water and spray liberally on infested plants.
5. Chili pepper insecticide spray
Chili pepper spray is a great homemade natural insect repellent that can be used for a variety of different pests. Chili spray can be made from either fresh hot peppers or chili pepper powder. To make a basic chili spray from pepper powder, mix 1 tablespoon of chili powder with 1 quart/lit of water and several drops of mild liquid soap. This mixture can be used full-strength on the leaves of affected plants. To make chili spray from fresh chili peppers, blend or puree 1/2 cup of peppers with 1 cup of water, then add 1 quart/lit of water and bring to a boil (adjust these measures to make larger quantities). Let sit until cooled, then strain out the chili material, add several drops of liquid soap to it and spray as desired.
6. All-in-one homemade insecticide spray
This is a combination of many different recipes submitted by readers. To make it, puree 1 bulb of garlic and 1 small onion, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and let steep for an hour. Strain the mixture and add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and mix well. To apply this homemade insecticide, spray it full-strength onto both the upper surface of the leaves, as well as the undersides, and store the remainder in the refrigerator for up to a week if desired.
Make, use, and observe, then modify (adjust these measures to make larger quantities).
The above natural and homemade insecticide recipes should give you a good starting point for creating your own version. Every organic gardener seems to have their own particular blend and ratio of ingredients, so by paying close attention to the effects of a specific recipe, it’s possible to modify it to best suit your own insect battles.
Just remember, killing off all of the insects in your garden is not the desired result here, as any healthy ecosystem requires an abundance of beneficial insects, microbes, and fungi, both in the soil and on the plants themselves, so introducing other predatory insects (ladybugs, praying mantis, etc.) or creating good habitat for them, as well as building soil fertility, can also be an effective pest management approach.
Until next time enjoy your gardening.