I saved money and made my own organic pesticide for my vegetable garden. It uses onion and garlic peels as its base, which are known as natural insect repellents. But before you think — ah, I can use this to keep mosquitoes off my kids, too — take a whiff. This spray has an odor.
I saved onion and garlic peels in a quart-sized plastic bag in the fridge until the bag was full. I dumped the scraps into a bucket and filled it halfway with water, leaving it on my back porch to steep for a week. In hindsight, I could have cut that short to a few days. But I got busy at work and didn’t have time to finish the process until the weekend.
The next step is to separate the peels from the mixture. I spread newspaper next to the bucket, put on some plastic gloves so the onion water didn’t seep into my skin, and scooped the peels out of the bucket and onto the newspaper.
Next, I poured the onion garlic solution into a spray canister. I was ready to spray my garden.
This solution works for soft-bodied insects such as aphids. To my knowledge, they don’t repel cutworms that chew leaves, but I have another trick for those that works perfectly. See this post for how to keep cutworms from eating your plants.
I doused all of my plants with the onion spray, including my okra, spinach, basil, eggplant and jalapenos (even though peppers are used as repellent too). You might say I got carried away. By the time I had sprayed all of my summer vegetables, the air was so fragrant it could have slayed vampires.
That was a few weeks ago. The smell dissipated in a few hours. It does appear to have worked, especially in combination with marigolds I have planted strategically in my raised garden beds.
Two other natural practices I follow that are supposed to help pests away: companion planting and mulching with compost. All of these methods negate the need to use commercial pesticides that are increasingly linked to health risks.
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