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Organic Pesticides.....Making A Difference

News From The Watering Hole - March 2012

Hundreds of years ago, long before the invention of chemical pesticides, farmers and homeowners created effective remedies for removing insect infestations from their garden plants. Those same remedies can still be used today. They are easy to make, inexpensive and better for our families and our environment - especially water-the most precious resource we own!

The following list will offer some of Dr. Edward Group’s favorite, all-natural, inexpensive, organic methods for making bug-busting pesticides for your home garden.

Neem

Ancient Indians highly revered neem oil as a powerful, all-natural plant for warding off pests. In fact, neem juice is the most powerful natural pesticide on the planet, holding over 50 natural insecticides. To make your own neem oil spray, simply add 1/2 an ounce of high quality organic neem oil and ½ teaspoon of a mild organic liquid soap to two quarts of warm water. Stir slowly. Add to a spray bottle and use immediately. Neem oil can be found at your local nursery, as well.

Household Detergents

You will find these surprising ingredients right in your own kitchen!  Don't be shy - give it a try!  Mix one teaspoon of liquid dish washing detergent with one cup of vegetable oil. Shake vigorously to emulsify and add to a quart of tap water. Use at 10-day intervals as an all-purpose spray for white flies, spider mites, aphids, and various insects on carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, and others. We've used it on evergreens and other ornamentals. Note: Test on a single plant first, because it may cause tip burn. This is a contact insecticide, so spray mix directly on the pest.

Liquid detergent-alcohol spray
Mix one teaspoon of liquid dish washing detergent plus one cup of rubbing alcohol in one quart of water. Test a few leaves first to make sure no harm is done to sensitive plants. Spray top and bottom sides of leaves; or if plant is small and potted, invert it in a large pan of solution (holding soil ball securely) and gently swish back and forth. Repeat process in seven days.

Liquid detergent—hot pepper spray
Steep three tablespoons of dry, crushed hot pepper in 1/2 cup hot water (covered) for half an hour. Strain out the particles of peppers, and then mix solution with the liquid detergent formula mentioned above. Good for a number of insects on both indoor and outdoor plants. Note: Apply to plants outdoors. Do not use on windy days. Avoid breathing fumes, which can be irritating to nose and eyes. You can substitute hot Tabasco sauce or Louisiana hot sauce for hot pepper.

Mineral oil

Mix 10-30 ml of high-grade mineral oil with one liter of water. Stir and add to spray bottle. This organic pesticide works well for dehydrating insects and their eggs.

Soap, Orange Citrus Oil & Water

To make this natural pesticide, simply mix 3 tablespoons of liquid Organic Castile soap with 1 ounce of Orange oil to one gallon of water. Shake well. This is an especially effective treatment against slugs and can be sprayed directly on ants and roaches.

Eucalyptus Oil

A great natural pesticide for flies, bees and wasps. Simply sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus oil where the insects are found. They will all be gone before you know it.

Onion and Garlic Spray

Mince one organic clove of garlic and one medium sized organic onion. Add to a quart of water. Wait one hour and then add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one tablespoon of liquid soap to the mix. This organic spray will hold its potency for one week if stored in the refrigerator.

Chrysanthemum Flower Tea

These flowers hold a powerful plant chemical component called pyrethrum. This substance invades the nervous system of insects rendering them immobile. You can make your own spray by boiling 100 grams of dried flowers into 1 liter of water. Boil dried flowers in water for twenty minutes. Strain, cool and place in a spray bottle. Can be stored for up to two months. You can also add some organic neem oil to enhance the effectiveness.

Tobacco Spray

Just as tobacco is not good for humans, tobacco spray was once a commonly used pesticide for killing pests, caterpillars and aphids. To make, simply take one cup of organic tobacco (preferably a brand that is organic and all-natural) and mix it in one gallon of water. Allow the mixture to set overnight. After 24-hours, the mix should have a light brown color. If it is very dark, add more water. This mix can be used on most plants, with the exception of those in the solanaceous family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.)

Chile pepper / Diatomaceous Earth

Grind two handfuls of dry chiles into a fine powder and mix with 1 cup of Diatomaceous earth. Add to 2 liters of water and let set overnight. Shake well before applying; Diatomaceous earth can be found at hardware stores and wherever pool supplies are sold.

Vinegar - Tackling pests of the “green variety”

Vinegar has shown promise as a broad spectrum herbicide.   Mix together 1 Gallon of 20% Acidic Vinegar-(available at Lowes and some feed stores), 1-2 oz of orange oil (Lowes) and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap.  Spray on those pesky weeds in your sidewalks, gravel paths and driveways.  Highly effective when sprayed in full sun with temperatures above 65 degrees. Warning:  This mixture will kill any plant on contact.  So spray carefully.

Good to note:  Effectiveness depends on the type of weed, the age of the weed and the concentration of the acetic acid in the vinegar. Household vinegar is a 5% acetic acid solution. Different concentrations of 15, 20 and 30% acetic acid are available.  All concentrations of acetic acid, including household vinegar, should cause treated foliage to brown within 24 hours. Young, tender weeds and annual weeds like crab grass are susceptible to treatment with household vinegar. However the roots are often not killed entirely and the weeds may reappear within a few weeks. Repeated applications, usually 3, are more effective and stronger concentrations of acetic acid work even faster and longer.

So the next time you head to the pesticide aisle of your local hardware store in search of a remedy to fight the latest pest attacking your garden, take a moment to think about the long-term effects of chemical poisons on your local water supply.  Try the remedies listed above.  Not only will it save you money-it will keep our water supply pure and clean!

Until next month........stay healthy and chemical free!