Consistent and careful plant maintenance is always your best defense against pest problems and your best guarantee of a thriving vegan organic garden. Overuse of deterrents can jeopardize the natural balance of an ecosystem, so use these natural homemade sprays sparingly. All sprays should be labelled well and keep out of the reach of children.
Never spray anything on your plants during the hottest part of the day. Even water left on leaves can burn your plants on a hot, bright afternoon. Water and treat your plants either in the early morning or in the evening.
Most insect pests find their target by odor. Sprays made with strong smelling ingredients such as garlic or eucalyptus oil can confuse them. To make garlic spray, crush several garlic gloves into a quart (or 1 liter) of water. Alternately, you can blend them into the water. Simmer over low heat to soften the garlic and release the essential oils into the water. Let the water cool. Strain to remove the chunks. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray the tops and bottoms of leaves for natural insect repellant and fungal control.
Put 2.5 teaspoons (or 12 ml) of eucalyptus essential oil in a quart (or 1 liter) of water. Spray the tops and bottoms of leaves for natural insect repellant.
Baking Soda Spray
Baking soda spray controls mildew, fungus, rust and scales. Scales are tiny parasitic insects that adhere to plants and live off the plant’s sap. They look like bumps and are often mistaken for a disease. Mix 3 ounces (or 6 tablespoons) baking soda with 1 gallon (or 3.75 liters) of water. Spray on affected plants.
Molasses spray can be used as a feeding deterrent for chewing insects such as caterpillars and grasshoppers. This spray is ideal for cabbage moths and grubs on the Brassicas. Blend 1 tablespoon of molasses with a quart (or 1 liter) of hot water until the color of weak tea. Spray the tops and bottoms of leaves.
Vinegar spray may be useful in controlling caterpillars and sap-sucking insects such as stink bugs, aphids, and mealy bugs. This spray is also good for cabbage moths and grubs on the Brassicas. Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water. Spray the tops and bottoms of leaves.
Epsom Salt Spray
Dissolve 2 tablespoons of epsom salts in 2 cups of warm water. Pour into a spray bottle and shake well before using. Spray conservatively on pepper plants once flowers start to form and as long as the plant is fruiting. The magnesium in the epsom salt helps the pepper hold on to its fruit as it grows.
Chamomile Tea Spray
Chamomile tea is a mild fungicide. Pour boiling water over a chamomile tea bag and leave to steep for about ten minutes. Cool and then spray on your plants.
Large Pest Deterring Hair Sprinkle
You can use hair from your hair brush or leftovers from a hair salon. The human scent on the hair will repel possums, raccoons, cats and rabbits. Additionally, as the hair breaks down, it becomes a nutritious compost for the soil.