July 24, 2019

Homemade Garden Bug Spray

Speaking of the garden, here's something I wanted to share with you. I've been experimenting some with homemade bug sprays for the garden, and last year found one that really helped for cabbage moths damage. I found the recipe at An Oregon Cottage, and she sources Keeper of the Home for it. So I'm not taking credit for this garden spray myself, just passing on something I found that works!

The ingredients are simple and easy to grow.

Potted mint

Ingredients
  • 3 C fresh mint
  • 2 bulbs fresh garlic
  • 1 or two fresh cayenne peppers or 2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 3 qts water
  • biosafe dishwashing soap

Homegrown garlic

To Make

Chop garlic, mint, and cayenne peppers if using fresh. No need to peel the garlic because it's strained later. Just chop it as is. When handling hot peppers, always be sure to wear kitchen gloves! Put these three ingredients into a gallon pot with the water. Bring to a simmer.


Cool and strain into spray bottles. Add a small squirt of dish liquid and you're ready to go. Don't forget to spray the undersides of leaves too.


Last year this simple spray saved my cabbage and basil plants. This year I'm going to try it on my squash and cucumbers as well. I'm not claiming it will take care of all my garden pests, but it's helped so far.

It's a pepper spray, so it's best not to get it on your skin and especially not in your eyes. I store the spray bottles in the refrigerator and reapply after watering or rain.

UPDATE: August 1, 2019, you can see how well it works here.

15 comments:

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Thanks for that recipe! I'm going to give it a try. I've had good luck with a fly spray for our cow and horse using cedarwood and peppermint essential oils but haven't found a good garden spray yet. Mostly just spend many hours picking bugs and worms off veggies by hand and getting way too much pleasure out of squashing them!

Mama Pea said...

I give my thanks, too, Leigh, for this recipe. We are normally in a battle with the white cabbage moths . . . but this year have yet to see one. That hasn't kept a certain amount of damage from appearing on my cabbage and cauliflower! (Grrrr.) This recipe seems straight-forward and one we can easily concoct. Thanks again for sharing.

Ed said...

How long does this last? My biggest complaint with any spray for outdoors is that it doesn't last too long. In our case, with deer repellent. I have found many solutions that work well... until they don't and overnight I will see that I should have reapplied the day before but didn't and now can't because the vegetation is now gone. My solution is to just plant stuff the deer don't eat. Bugs are probably a little more forgiving since you can monitor populations to reapply in a timely manner.

Leigh said...

Donna, you're welcome. I know this recipe works well for some things, and I hope it works well on more. I could definitely use your fly spray for my goats! The flies have been really bad this year.

Mama Pea, strange how the insect populations can fluctuate so wildly from year to year. This spray works really well on those cabbage moth larvae. They leave it alone!

Ed, that sound pretty serious! It seems that this spray lasts a good while. It's not like I'm out there spraying daily. I give the plant a good dose and wait. Usually it starts to grow back well and if I see damage again, I spray again. Or after it rains, like I said, because it's water soluble.

We used to have deer damage every year but haven't much in the past couple of years. We've fenced more and our neighbors are out there on their ATVs a lot, which probably discourages them. I remember Deer-B-Gone working, but I don't recall how often I had to reapply. I was dubious because the formula was based on rotten eggs, but it smelled mostly like cloves. For a large deer population though, I doubt there's any other solution than plant things deer don't like, like you did.

Kristina said...

Thanks! I need to dig my garlic up this week.

Rain said...

Great idea Leigh. I haven't really been concentrating too much on pest control in my container garden, but those slugs definitely love the lettuces and the greens. They've eaten up the tops of my turnips and beets already! I wonder if that spray would work for slugs too?

Leigh said...

Kristina, nice that you can use your own garlic!

Rain, I don't know if this will work for slugs, but it would be worth a try. Not many pests like peppermint or garlic. Usually I see diatomaceous earth recommended for slugs. But I don't know if that works either!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Thanks Leigh! I get the pepper and even the garlic - what is the mint intended to do?

Leigh said...

TB, mint is an insect repellent. It's used in quite a few natural mosquito sprays, also for flies, ants, and cabbage moths. It makes it smell nice too. :)

Powell River Books said...

We discovered a branch of tent caterpillars on a mock orange bush on the cliff. Wayne climbed up and cut it off and we submerged it in the lake to kill the pests before setting it afloat. They are having an outbreak in town and I guess it has moved this far up the lake. - Margy

J.L. Murphey said...

I add 3 TBS olive oil to my mix to extend the capasacsin to mine.

Leigh said...

Margy, we have those tent caterpillars too, but most of them are too high up in the trees to do anything about. :(

Jo, do you use an emulsifier? Doesn't the olive oil clog up the nozzle on your sprayer?

Kristin said...

AH! The timing on this is perfect! Just found my first cabbage worms of the season!

Leigh said...

Kristin, it really works for cabbage worms! I'm getting ready to do an update on the spray and show the difference it made; planning to post it on Thursday. It's amazing!

Rose said...

I should copy this recipe and save it for future reference.