Insect Spray for an Organic Garden


Controlling garden pests without using commercial pesticides is a positive step toward protecting your health and your family's. Organic pesticides also help to protect the underground water supply, making them the environmentally safer choice. When using organic pesticides, it is best to start with the simplest method before moving on to something stronger. Some of the stronger recipes may be harmful to beneficial insects and even some animals.

Basic All-Purpose Spray

In a food processor, finely grind one whole garlic bulb and one small white onion. Add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Add the mixture to one quart of water. Let stand for one hour. Strain through a piece of cheesecloth. Add 1 tbsp. of liquid dish soap and mix well. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray on plants. Be sure to spray the underside of leaves.

Baking Soda

Baking soda will eliminate a number of troublesome garden pests as well as having fungicidal properties. Pour one quart of warm tap water into a spray bottle. Add 1 tsp. of baking soda and let dissolve. For added strength, add 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap.

Starch Spray

In a spray bottle, combine one quart of water with 2 to 3 tbsp. of all-purpose flour or potato starch. For added strength, add 2 to 3 drops of liquid soap. Mix well and spray, covering plant leaves on all sides. All-purpose flour has also been used as a dust and gets sticky when it becomes damp, trapping the insects.

Citrus Oils

Oils obtained from the peels of citrus fruits have chemical properties that tend to kill or discourage certain insects. The active ingredient "limonene" will be on the label of some commercial products. Insects that are susceptible to the effects of limonene are the leaf-eating caterpillar, fire ants, mites, wasps, potato beetle, aphids and flies.

Garlic Oil

Garlic oil will kill a large number of common insect pests, but it can also kill many helpful insects as well. If soap is added, it eliminates even more of the beneficial insects. Garlic has also been known to damage certain foliage, so it is smart to test a small patch of the garden before using on all plants.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil works best when garlic oil or liquid soap is added. Mineral oil actually traps the insects, coating their bodies and then suffocating them. Mineral oil is often used on ears of corn to eliminate the problem of corn earworms. Apply 1 to 2 drops of mineral oil to the tip of the corn ears after the silks have wilted.

Keywords: organic pesticide, natural pesticide, nontoxic pesticide

About this Author

Jamie Hobbs graduated from Central Washington University with a BAed. She has been writing for Demand Studios and Suite 101 since 2008. Mrs. Hobbs work has also been printed in Yakima Family Times.