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Got Aphids? Destroy Them Naturally!

It came to my attention a couple weeks ago that all of my leafy greens were being torn to shreds by tiny little hell hounds from the dark side. You know, aphids. I was NOT happy about this, but I'm new at this gardening thing and I didn't have my arsenal on the ready just yet. And being as I'm growing organically, I can't use chemical pesticides on my plants so I went in search of an easy DIY garden pest control concoction to rid my garden of these most unwanted squatters.

I tried spraying peppermint castile soap on my plants, crumbling bay leaves around, spreading coffee grounds and diatomaceous earth all over the place, sprinkling cinnamon until it smelled like Christmas, and even a few other things. All of them had a decent insecticidal effect but I needed something MUCH stronger.

Behold, My Favorite Non-toxic DIY Pest Control Recipe:

  • 1 small-medium organic onion, finely chopped (I use a food processor for both the onion and the garlic)
  • 1 bulb of organic garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons liquid pure castile soap

Directions:

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium pot and mix well.
  2. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Let sit until cool enough to handle, then strain through cheesecloth and discard scraps.
  4. Add castile soap and mix thoroughly.
  5. Transfer to spray bottle and slaughter away!

Be sure to spray both the tops and the undersides of all the infected leaves. I go ahead and spray every plant I have, infected or not, just in case. A light to medium coating should do the trick after 2-3 applications, but too much at once and you run the risk of suffocating your plants.

This recipe is enough to treat my 8'x4′ garden plus a large potato tower 1-2 times depending on the size of my plants. It's such a simple recipe though, I just whip up another batch when it's time to treat again. Usually 2x a week until the pests are under control, then just once a month for prevention.

Keep in mind that this mixture will emit a pretty strong smell when cooking, so I turn on a fan to keep the air circulating in and out of the kitchen. Also, be sure to wash your hands after straining and spraying, or just wear gloves during the process. You definitely don't want to get this powerful combo in your eyes!

Recipe adapted from Organic Gardening

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3 Responses to Got Aphids? Destroy Them Naturally!

  1. jtuck2 June 11, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    I also have a nasty aphid problem and have had it for several years (I wasn’t very conscientious about fighting it last year). Aphids also hate something about the tomato plant. Whenever I need to trim my indeterminate tomatoes, I cut them up in 1 to 2 inch pieces and soak them overnight in a bucket of clean water. The next day add some chopped up garlic, cayenne and yep–liquid Castille soap as you mentioned. In fact, I did it today and the ants that were farming the aphids on my chard and kale ran for the hills (literally). I found this concoction on the Internet a few years ago. I’m going to make it much harder for them to live in my garden this year! ; )

    • The Soft Landing Sisters
      The Soft Landing Sisters June 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

      That’s a great tip, jtuck2. I’ve got tomato plants growing as we speak, so I’ll definitely give it a shot. Thanks! ~Laura

      • jtuck2 October 13, 2014 at 1:40 am #

        Well…the problem is you have to keep doing this and keep spraying. A friend told me that if I star spraying the plants regularly with diluted compost tea (worm tea), the plants will develop the ability to fight the aphids on their own. Worth a try!

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