Gardening Pt V: DIY Insecticides + Herbicides

If you garden, you know the shock and horror of going out for your morning watering and finding that a little pest has eaten the leaves of your cucumber clean off or a rabbit has been nibbling on the lettuce. Insects, animals and weeds are an undesirable part of gardening and unfortunately, insecticides can be expensive.

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Not to mention full of chemicals that you probably don’t want to be spraying on your veggies. Fortunately for you, there are several tried and true methods for managing your pests and weeds in affordable and natural ways! Check out these ten DIY insecticides and herbicides that will help your garden thrive.

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Here’s a one-size-fits-all spray. It’s well known that many common garden pests like caterpillars, slugs, aphids, flies and others dislike onion, garlic, pepper or all of the above. This spray has you mix all three together, plus an essential oil blend, to create a garden spray that will keep the pests away but is safe to eat. Goodbye hungry caterpillar. (via Weed ’em and Reap)

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Epsom salts are great for just about anything. Along with fertilizing house plants and DIYing your own manicure, you can sprinkle some around your garden and it will help to repel all kinds of pests. Especially slugs. Salt and slugs do not mix. Just tell this to your ten year old son and you will then find out why. (via Food Storage Moms)

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There’s nothing like a good oil spray to fend off those sap-sucking insects like aphids and white flies. Blend together dish soap and cooking oil in a small bottle and store in a dark, cool place. Before you use it, be sure to dilute it with water. Then spray away! You can do this every seven days to keep those pesky bugs under control. (via SFGate)

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Yes, this bar of soap may be labeled for laundry purposes, but it works as an insecticide too! Grate and grate and watch your fingers. Put the shavings in a pot of boiling water, stir ’em up until they’re dissolved and then put your concoction in a jar. Voila. Soapy insecticide concentrate. Dilute and spray. Be careful about this one though. You don’t want to spray it on your precious veggies because it will burn them. (via Five Little Homesteaders)

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Here’s another soap mixture. Castile soap is a great natural soap that’s easy to find. All you have to do is dilute it and spray. Again, try not to spray directly on your plants. If you find out this spray is harming your veggies, you can either dilute your soap even more or try another of the mixtures above. It’s all about trial and error. (via Today’s Homeowner)

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This soap blend is possible the most intensive of the DIY insecticides. Baby shampoo is another great option for soap because it’s almost always made of natural products. Combine two teaspoons of this bubbly shampoo with a gallon of water and spray it on your plants. Rinse this off after a few hours. Don’t use this spray on a sunny day or on fuzz lined or waxy veggies. (via SFGate)

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Let’s talk about weeds. They’re probably just as annoying as the pests in our gardens and just as constant. However, using a store-bought, chemical-filled herbicide can permanently damage the soil in your garden. To avoid it, lemon juice is a wonderful natural alternative herbicide. It’s high citric acid content literally burns the weeds so they can be pulled right out.

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Oh vinegar, how wonderful you are. This natural product you can use on pretty much anything. Literally. So it’s no surprise that it works as an herbicide too. What you need to know is that vinegar absorbs moisture. Spraying it on a weed means it will draw all the water out of it and the weed will die. Adding soap will help to break down any wax barrier the weed may have. Basically, your weeds will be helpless against this solution. Yes, this works on dandelions too. (via The Paper Mama)

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This spray uses a mix of vinegar and clove oil to do it’s dirty work. Keep in mind that this is powerful stuff so steer clear of your veggies and any other plants you want to remain living in your garden. (via Life Sanity)

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Just like vinegar, baking soda is another all natural product with unending uses. Dirty shower? Smelly fridge? Baking soda has got the answer. When it comes to annihilating weeds, it’s the sodium in this product that does the hard work. Word is that you can just sprinkle this on your weeds and they’ll shrivel up and die within days. I’m all for it! (via Wife2jason)