The Q&A Archives: Pest Control With Homemade Insecticidal Soaps And Oils

Question: I am looking for recipes to make organic insecticidal soaps and oils and advice on how to use them (i.e: aphids on roses?)
Thank you.

Answer: Here are a few gardening "recipes":

The first is a homemade bug spray: 1 gallon water, 1/2 tsp. eucalyptus oil, 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, 1 tbsp. dishwashing liquid. Combine all ingredients and shake well. Pour liquid into a spray bottle. When applying shake often to keep components evenly distributed. This "potion" works well on ants and aphids in particular (cats don't like it much either).

To keep dogs and cats out of the garden: Mix a tablespoon or two of Lysol disinfectant with a gallon of water, and sprinkle this on the ground around your plants. Keep it off the plants, since it can burn the leaves.

For powdery mildew: Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda per quart of water; add 1/4 tsp mild soap to help it stick to the leaves. Apply this once a week, and hose down plants between sprayings.

For aphids: There are many homemade remedies that can work to kill or repel aphids. With any of these remedies, test the spray first on a portion of the plant to make sure the plant doesn't suffer damage. Some suggestions are: soapy water sprays; a spray made from 1 part mint to 4 parts water, steeped and filtered; a spray made from garlic or green onions steeped in water and filtered.
I like the book "The Gardener's Bug Book: Earth-Safe Insect Control", by Barbara Pleasant (Storey Communications, Inc., Pownal, VT), 1994. It has great information for identifying pests and choosing the best sprays and deterrents.

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