Growing an organic garden is rewarding work. Eating fresh, healthy food straight from the garden lifts both the body and spirit. Unfortunately, many insects and other pests like to sample the fresh produce as well. I am constantly on the lookout for ways to keep pests off my plants without harming beneficial insects or the plants.
Recently, I read about two recipes from horticulturalist Estelle Bogoch-Stelmach. She instructs gardeners on effective, natural pest control strategies using common, safe ingredients. Most store-bought pesticides are chemical concoctions that indiscriminately kill insects, including beneficial bugs such as pollinators and insects that prey on the pests eating our produce. These pesticides also end up on the food we are growing and ultimately find their way into our bodies where their toxic effects continue. Most commercial pesticides are proven nervous system toxins and hormone disruptors.
Here are two pesticide recipes Bogoch-Stelmach uses, based on the principle that if they are made with ingredients we can eat, they are healthy enough to use:
The first recipe is an insect spray intended for soft-bodied bugs like aphids. If possible, try to find organic produce and spices, as well as natural versions of the hot sauce:
1 large, very sharp onion;
3 cloves of garlic;
1 tbsp. of hot sauce;
Dash of chili powder; and
Dash of cayenne pepper.