Insects can damage plants. Aphids, spider mites, Japanese beetles and caterpillars are all pests that, until recently, were controlled only with dangerous insecticides. Those insecticides are poisonous to humans, and environmentalists have cautioned that the chemicals can run-off with rainwater and poison fish once it joins rivers and streams. Using chemicals on vegetable plants also has its own dangers. Consequently, it's important to find ways to reduce exposure to harmful insecticides in food and water sources.
Fortunately, there are organic alternatives to toxic chemical insecticides. Epsom salt has proven to be a great natural insecticide. Named for a bitter saline spring in England, Epsom salt is not like regular table salt but is composed of magnesium and a sulfate. It's therapeutic for humans, but deadly to insects. Consequently, it is a cost-effective and organic insecticide for use in homes and gardens. Epsom salt can be used in paste or spray form to deter insect infestation.
One way to kill insects around plants is to make a paste out of Epsom salt. Mix six parts bran, one part molasses and three parts Epsom salt with water--just enough to make a paste. Put the paste around the base of the plants; the bran and molasses will attract the insects, but when they eat the mixture, the Epsom salt will kill them.
Epsom salt can also be used as a spray. Just dissolve the salt in water, put the solution in a spray bottle, and apply it directly to the insects or on the leaves. Since Epsom salt is safe for humans and, it is safe to apply it to vegetables without any fear of contamination.
Not only does Epsom salt kill insects, but it is also good for the plants. The magnesium in the salt helps seeds germinate and also helps create chlorophyll. The sulfate in the salts also helps create chlorophyll, and it works with other minerals to make the soil more nutritious. The salt is especially good for tomatoes and peppers, which are known to be prone to magnesium deficiency. It can also be used on flowers, shrubs, trees and even lawns to keep them healthy.
Where to Purchase
Epsom salt can be found in any supermarket. As it is inexpensive, easy to use and safe for humans and pets, it is quickly gaining use among organic gardeners to control insects and help plants grow stronger and healthier.