Pest Problems - Natural Remedies

by Anthony
(Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

I have my tomato plants, strawberry plants, pepper plants all dying because of something that is crawling and eating all of my leaves, and flowers. They are tiny little green pests that turn white when they die. I tried spraying a mixture of water, soap, and olive oil but that did not kill them. I really don't want to use chemicals- are there natural remedies?

What the heck do I do? It's really frustrating because the plants do great, like my strawberry plants, but as soon as I get flowers, boom, they die. Same thing happens with my cucumber and cantaloupe. I could really use the help. By the way, love the SBI site. I have one myself on vitamins and nutrition. Great job here!

Answer: Anthony- pests can be one of the most frustrating problems to deal with in an otherwise great garden. Trust me, I have had my bug woes. Most of my advice on this topic, such as using diatomaceous earth, Bang!, or neem oil, can be found on my natural pest control page. However, I have a few additional suggestions as well.

First, definitely check out the link above and learn about diatomaceous earth. Past that, I think you are on the right track with the soap and olive oil mixture. Unfortunately, spraying plants that are exposed to full (or almost full) sun has its own problems. Use only a little oil. Keep using the soap, to keep the water surface tension broken on the solution. This will help the solution more thoroughly soak whatever you spray it on.

In addition, consider adding a few other things to your homemade solution. The tobacco from one cigarette, soaked overnight in a quart of warm water, makes a pretty effective spray against little bugs. The same is true for cinnamon and cloves. A commercial product called Bang! is made up of garlic and hot peppers. It is easy enough to make a batch yourself by crushing several cloves of garlic and several hot peppers and, like the cigarette, soaking them overnight in a quart or so of warm water. It smells like you are cooking a well seasoned steak when you use it. Just be careful when you spray it- it is basically mace.

Try to do all of your spraying at sun up. Spraying anything on your plants while in the full sun can be harmful to the plants, and wetting them down just before the temps drop for the night only invites fungus and mold. Also, with these type of homemade remedies, you will want to re-apply the spray pretty often (or use diatomaceous earth in between spray applications). Certainly re-apply after a good rain. I hope this helps you out Anthony, and Happy Growing!

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