Thursday, April 7, 2016

Homemade Insecticidal Soap Spray

I haven't written much lately. I am absorbed by the garden and all things sprouting and green.
Apparently, the bugs are too!

I was noticing that someone was already munching on my rhubarb and hostas again and was reminded that it was time to make my homemade insecticidal spray.

This spray can definitely be tinkered with as you may need to adjust the concentration based on your plants. I have found it really great for rhubarb, kale, hosts, small fruit trees and basically any other green plant that is being munched on by insects. I am also finding it useful in the home to spray around areas where ants like to gather, but you may need to check that it doesn't harm your wood or any surface you spray it on.

All you need is a good spray bottle and some kitchen basics and away you go! It is much cheaper than the soap sprays that they offer in stores and you will have a good batch to last for several applications.

Make sure you spray during dry periods, when there is no risk of rain, or you will be applying right away again. It is generally recommended to spray in the morning or in the evening, and to spray both the top and bottom of the leaves. Your intention here is to directly spray aphids or other soft-bodied insects. It is not recommended for tender greens such as tomatoes or peas.  Read more about how to use these sprays here.

Homemade Insecticidal Soap Spray
I prefer using Dr. Bronner's liquid peppermint soap as it also has the peppermint as a bit of a repellent, but any dish soap will work. The least toxic and unscented is better, especially if you intend on eating the leaves. Some people use a bit of onion in this spray too, so just use a bit if you want to try that in place of some of the garlic. Warning: DO NOT COMBINE THE SOAP in the blender. Have fun cleaning that up if you do! (Yes, accidents happen!)

spray bottle
1 Litre water
1 head of garlic, peeled (I use my sprouting, sub-par garlic)
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tbsp liquid soap (I prefer Dr. Bronner's)

1. In a blender, combine water, garlic and cayenne. Strain through the finest mesh strainer you can find (like a tea strainer) or through a few layers of cheesecloth. This is essential so you don't clog your sprayer. *if you do, a fix is to check the bottom cover of the middle straw in the sprayer and rinse it off or remove it.
2. Pour into spray bottle and add liquid soap. Shake to mix well. Use immediately or within a week or two.