Are garden beasties like aphids, mites and slugs mauling your fresh, tender veggies? If you're working hard to keep your garden organic but losing the battle of wills against hungry bugs and garden insects, here are a few all-natural homemade pesticides and bug sprays that you can use to try and zap those bad bugs out.
Hot Cayenne Homemade Pesticide
Hot, smelly and all-around noxious, cayenne powder and garlic pesticide is a popular DIY homemade insecticide that can be used to repel insects and small rodents (like squirrels and bunnies). Personally, I don't recommend using it against animals (as it can damage their eyes and there are more effective ways to keep squirrels from digging up your bulbs), but it does seem like a popular solution on a lot of garden blogs and forums.
To make this natural, homemade insecticide, mix 7-10 crushed garlic cloves, 1 tbsp of powdered cayenne pepper, and 3 cups hot water. Allow the mixture to sit for 2-3 days, strain away the garlic, and spray on plants and bugs as needed. Resist the urge to taste this concoction, however, as garlic is prone to botulism.
Citrus Slug-Slaying Homemade Pesticide
If you've got a slug and snail problem, this acidic and lemony-fresh homemade pesticide should do the trick.
To make this homemade insecticide, grate the rinds of 2 lemons and 2 oranges (or substitute grapefruit instead), then add the peels to 3 cups boiling water. Remove from heat, cover and let steep overnight. To use, strain, pour into a spray bottle, and spray directly onto bugs and slugs. For added effectiveness, follow up with a dash salt (and watch them sizzle).
Homemade Tobacco Pesticide
It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that tobacco is just as poisonous to garden pests as it is to people. And, while it is a powerful nerve poison, it makes an easy-to-use but deadly effective main ingredient for this powerful yet natural homemade pesticide.
To make this homemade insecticide, mix one cup tobacco (organic, if you prefer) with one gallon hot water. Let steep for 24 hours, then apply as needed. While this homemade pesticide is rumored to be safe on any veggie that's not in the tomato/pepper/eggplant family, I personally don't know if I would use it in my vegetable garden and would probably only use it on my border plants and non-butterfly flower beds. Or, at the very least, I would use it in limited amounts (due to its high toxicity).
(Images graciously provided by brokenarts, nkzs, evelyn1977 and 12point1. Thanks!)