These homemade, natural pesticides are effective in keeping your crops away from harmful creatures yet are safe enough not to poison you and your family.

A lush and healthy home garden is a source of pride. Behind it all is hard and passionate work, joys and difficulties, but it is so rewarding when the result is a private Eden, especially because it was created by you. The time spent on it, monitoring weeds and insects , not to mention the challenges for soil fertility, can become an incredibly exciting experience, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also in the knowledge that you can bring products from your own garden table in the home, especially if you stick to organic protocols that are not based on quick but potentially harmful results, but on green solutions that follow natural protocols that smell of ancient.

When it comes to keeping your plants healthy and protected from the voracious insect army, there are a number of approaches that can help turn the tide in your favor. One method of repelling insect populations that takes very little time is the application of natural or homemade insecticides, which can reduce their numbers or eliminate them. Since not all insects are harmful, the indiscriminate use of insecticides is not the right approach: aggressive pesticides that also affect beneficial insects can have a harmful effect on the garden ecosystem. Indiscriminate and significant alteration of ecosystems can be a toxic practice for humans and other animals. So, before you take action on pesticides or insecticides, make sure you choose the most effective and least harmful option for you and your garden.

Natural and homemade insecticides

  • Oil spray insecticide

A homemade insecticide made from vegetable oil and a mild soap can have devastating effects on some pesky insects such as aphids, spider mites, thrips, etc. To make a spray oil insecticide, mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap (cover and shake thoroughly). When you are ready to apply, add 2 teaspoons of spray oil mixture to 1 gallon of water, shake well and spray directly onto surface plants infested with the small pests. The oil covers the body of the insects and effectively suffocates them as it clogs the pores through which they breathe.

  • Soap spray insecticide

A homemade pesticide similar to an oil spray is a soap spray, which is also effective for controlling mites, aphids, whiteflies, beetles and other small, hungry insects. To make a soap-based spray insecticide, mix 1/2 teaspoon of mild liquid soap with 1 gallon of water and spray the mixture directly on infected plant surfaces. As a soap spray insecticide, it works similarly to an oil spray pesticide and can be applied as needed (although it is always recommended NOT to apply it during the hottest part of the day, but in the evening or early morning).

  • Neem oil-based insecticide

An oil extracted from the seeds of the neem tree, neem oil is a powerful natural insecticide that can disrupt the life cycle of insects at all stages (adults, larvae and eggs), making it a great resource for the organic gardener. Neem oil is hormone disruptive and a deterrent to insects that feed on leaves and other plant parts. Neem oil is biodegradable and non-toxic to pets, birds, fish and other wildlife. It is effective against a variety of common garden pests and is a natural fungicide that can control powdery mildew and other fungal infections on plants. It is available at many vegetable gardens or health food stores. To use neem oil as an insecticide, Follow the directions on the bottle or start with a base mixture of 2 teaspoons of neem oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap, shake thoroughly with 1 quart of water, then spray on the affected plant. Neem oil can also be used as a preventative by spraying the leaves of plants that are frequently infested by pests before they actually become infested.

  • Diatomaceous earth as a natural pesticide

This natural substance with a somewhat cumbersome name is made from a sedimentary rock composed of fossilized algae (diatoms), a fairly abundant resource on Earth (the Earth is said to be 26% algae). Diatomaceous Earth has several uses in and around the home and acting as a natural insecticide is just one of them. This material does not poison or suffocate insects, but due to its abrasive properties and its ability to absorb the lipids (a waxy substance) of the exoskeleton of insects, causes them to dehydrate until death. Diatomaceous earth is often available at garden stores, but often only in large quantities. So, if you have a small garden, consider sharing it with an interested neighbor. It is applied by simply dusting the soil around your plants or spreading it on the foliage. This helps control slugs and other crawling insects. Because of its dry nature, it is an effective natural pesticide.

  • Garlic insecticide spray

Garlic is known for its pungent aroma that is pleasant to some and repulsive to others, and this strong odor comes into play when used as a natural insecticide. These common kitchen ingredients can be used to contain or even eliminate insect infestations in the garden. To make a garlic spray, take two whole onions and puree them in a food processor with a small amount of water (about a quart). Let the mixture sit overnight, then drain and pour into a jar, adding 1/2 cup vegetable oil (optional), 1 teaspoon mild liquid soap and enough water to fill the jar.

  • Pepper insecticide spray

Similar to garlic spray, pepper spray is a great natural insect repellent. It can be prepared with fresh or powdered chili peppers: Mix 1 tablespoon of chili powder with 1 quart of water and a few drops of mild liquid soap. This mixture can be applied at full strength to the leaves of the affected plants. The spray prepared from fresh chilies, on the other hand, must be brought to a boil with half a cup of water and a cup of water. Then let it sit until it cools, then filter and begin spraying. (Caution: hot peppers can also be very effective on humans. So be sure to wear gloves when handling and vaporizing them, and keep the mist away from your eyes, nose and mouth).

  • Tomato leaf as a natural insecticide

Tomato plants belong to the nightshade family and as such contain alkaloids such as “Tomatine” that can be effective in controlling aphids and other insects. To make a tomato leaf spray as a natural insecticide , chop 2 cups of fresh tomato leaves (which you can take from the bottom of the plant) in 1 quart of water and let it steep overnight. Strain the plant material and spray on the leaves of the plant.

Learn from experience

The homemade and natural insecticide recipes above should give you a good starting point for creating your own version. Each gardener seems to have their own mix and ratio of ingredients. So, if you pay close attention to what a particular recipe does, you can tweak it to best suit your battle against bugs. Remember that killing all the insects in your garden is not the desired end result, nor should it be, as any healthy ecosystem requires an abundance of beneficial insects, microbes and fungi both in the soil and on the plants themselves, introducing other predatory insects ( ladybugs, praying mantises, etc.) or creating a good habitat for them can be an effective approach to pest control in addition to promoting soil fertility.