Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Are garden pests bugging your plants? Wondering how to eliminate them without turning to harmful pesticides and herbicides? Try using safe, all-natural ingredients from your pantry! Details below.


Some critters have no respect for your hard work in the garden.

While pests can wreak havoc on your garden, there are ways to fight them without coating your plants in chemicals. The following pesticides and tips will help you combat the little buggers that threaten your harvest, and they can be made on the cheap from organic ingredients you already have at home.


Before we get to a specific A-Z list of pests, here is a summary of what exactly organic garden pest control mixtures consists of and how they work:

  • Smell: Garlic, tobacco, rhubarb, fish and other strong smelling substances that are used to repel pests.
  • Gases and odor molecules: Many plants give off natural odors or have volatile oils which some bugs find unpleasant. Often these odors or oils are a warning to bugs that the plant contains its own built in insecticide. Concoctions made from these plants will deter pests.
  • Heat or fumes: Chilies, kerosene, methylated spirits, salt, etc, will burn, harm or kill pests.
  • Oil: Mineral oil, vegetable oils and proprietary oils, such as those made with cottonseed oil, will suffocate soft-bodied pests.
  • Soap: Natural vegetable based soaps or detergents are added to sprays in small amounts to make them stick to plants. Many insects dislike and are harmed by soap also.

 And a few words on how to use them:

  • Never spray plants during hot sunny weather as it may cause the leaves to burn. Natural soap is tolerated by plants better than detergent (which may have other ingredients such as surfactants, enzymes and softeners added). A small dash of detergent is okay to give a spray some 'stickiness.'
  • Decide what you need to do and do no more. For example, do you want to kill the wretched caterpillars that are making a mess of your cabbages? Right, get the biggies by hand and/or make up a strong killer on mix and stop them in their munchy tracks! 
  • From then on you should be able to keep an eye out and use only a mixture that deters or repels the butterflies or moths from landing to lay eggs.
  • Always remember you want a garden teeming with life with the many insects and creatures keeping each other in check without you rocking the boat too much.
  • Yes you want wonderful vegetables, flowers and trees to eat and enjoy; so practice diversity and don't aim for perfection and neatness. Even when using natural sprays, do as little harm as possible and don't try to outgun nature.



  • Instructables.com shares an all-purpose organic pesticide made using onions, a jalapeno pepper, garlic, and dish soap: "After blending the onion, pepper and garlic into a paste, let it sit in a pot of warm water for 20 minutes before straining out the vegetables. Add the dish soap, fill your spray bottle, and apply liberally. This pesticide will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks."


  • No-dig-vegetable-garden.com offers a variation on the garlic-chili pepper theme, a dragon-slaying doozy they call Garlic Fire Spray.


  • Or you can let the tomatoes defend themselves! The organic gardening page on about.com shares a tomato leaf spray that puts the plants to work: "Did you know that tomato leaves, and other members of the Nightshade family, contain toxic compounds called alkaloids that are toxic to aphids, but safe for plants and humans? Chop up some tomato leaves, soak overnight, strain through a cheesecloth and dilute  for a pesticide spray that will zap your aphid problem!"


Have your own tried-and-true homemade pesticide recipe? Share it with us, and we'll add it to our growing list. Looking for more help? As William mentions below, compost tea can help keep pests at bay; here's a handy Compost Tea 101. Visit the Natural Pest Control 101 for additional tips, and for those annoying critters that bug you rather than your plants, check out the Homemade Nontoxic Mosquito Repellents 101. For more things to plant, grow, cook, preserve, make, and craft, take a gander through the HOMEGROWN 101 library.

Views: 29354

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

One of the best solutions to keeping pests away and adding to the health of your plants is composting tea. Taking natural organic compost and making a tea out of it with a quality system and spraying it on your plants and soil promotes healthy microbes.  A healthy plant and soil is always the best way to start in managing pests, but not always the only solution.  The lack of some nutrient, microbe or natural predator is key to most bad pests survival. Research your problem at a microbial level and find natural trade-offs that benefit nature and only rid you of your problem without harming everything else good in the environment! Check out this website for more information on compost teas and their benefits. http://www.livingsoilsorganics.com/compost-tea-benefits.html search this site for links to many wonderful hours of reading on healing our earth through natural science organics.

Reply to Discussion



HOMEGROWN.org created this Ning Network.



Join us on:


  • Add Videos
  • View All


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2023   Created by HOMEGROWN.org.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Community Philosphy Blog and Library