There is nothing quite like having your own garden at home to make you appreciate the hardships and trials of the farmers who grow your food. Aside from the already difficult challenges of maintaining the fertility of your soil, home garden growers must also worry about factors like the weather, weeds, and pest control. It can be an incredibly humbling experience to try and put food on the table from your own home garden; even more so once you adhere to organic options that don’t rely on quick but potentially dangerous solutions.
Without the help of conventional fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, your thriving garden has the potential to turn into an all-you-can-eat buffet for insects. However, not all insects are harmful, so applying traditional pesticides and insecticides, especially harsher ones that can affect even insects that provide benefits can actually harm rather than help the ecosystem of your garden.
Applying your own organic or homemade pesticides will help you reduce the number of pests in your garden or eliminate them altogether. Here are three organic pesticides you can do at home.
Tomato leaf insecticide spray
The use of tomato leaves as an insecticide is something that is quite new among home gardeners. Because tomato plants are a part of the nightshade family, they contain the aptly named alkaloid “tomatine” which is an effective method to control aphids and other insects.
To make your own natural tomato leaf insecticide, chop up two cups of fresh tomato leaves into one quart of water and let it steep overnight. You can also take the leaves from the bottom part of the tomato plant for this purpose. Strain out the plant material, place the liquid into a spray bottle, and spray onto your plants.
Garlic insecticide spray
Garlic is most known for its strong and pungent aroma. While this might be appealing to some, it can also be a repellent to others. It is the strong scent of garlic that makes it such an effective natural pesticide.
To make a basic garlic insecticide spray, take two whole bulbs of garlic, not just two cloves, and puree them in a food processor or blender with a small amount of water. Let this mixture sit overnight, strain it into a quart jar, and add enough water to fill the rest of the jar. Optionally, you can add ½ cup of vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap to enhance its effects.
Diatomaceous earth insecticide
Despite its hard-to-pronounce name, this natural substance is made from a sedimentary rock that is created from fossilized algae or diatoms. Diatomaceous earth is quite the abundant resource, making up approximately 26 percent of the crust of the earth by weight.
Diatomaceous earth works not by smothering or poisoning the insects, but rather, because its abrasive qualities and its tendency to absorb the lipids or the waxy substance that protects the exoskeleton of an insect, it dehydrates them to death. To apply, simply dust the area around your plants with diatomaceous earth or even sprinkle it on the foliage.
There are still a lot more organic pesticides available out there, but these three should be a good starting point for creating your own method of pest control. Because every organic gardener seems to have their own particular blend or recipe of natural ingredients, you should pay close attention to the effects of a particular recipe so you can modify it to best suit your needs.
Lastly, remember that not all insects are necessarily pests, so killing off all the insects in your garden is not the result that you want to have. A healthy ecosystem requires a lot of beneficial microbes, fungi, and even insects. Aside from making sure that your soil is fertile, creating a good habitat for all of the living things in your garden can also be an effective approach to pest management.