With gardening season in full swing, you’re probably wondering what all those things are that are eating away your garden crop. The aphids (learn how to control them naturally), slugs, worms, beetles, and other creatures take a big bite out of our crops every year. But we are always hestitant to use a commercial bug killer because we don’t want to transfer those chemicals into our food.
Quite a number of years ago, when we were beginning to garden in our old house, we listened to a gardening radio host who supported using chemicals along with some other natural treatments for the garden. But we really felt like it wasn’t the thing for us to do. Then we ran across Howard Garrett, The Dirt Doctor, and found exactly the philosophy we wanted to use for our yard and our family.
One of Howard’s biggest suggestions for controlling pests in the garden is to have a healthy garden. Healthy garden means that bugs are less likely to attack and eat the ‘weak’. But when you have to control bugs, do it with natural means. We really latched on to his Garlic Pepper Spray because it was easy to make at home, is really effective, and is something we can make in bulk and store thorughout the year.
Garlic Pepper Spray is a systemic spray, meaning you can spray it on the plant, and the plant absorbs the spray, and when bugs eat, they react. It’s not something you have to spray directly on a bug.
NOTE: Because this is a bug repellant, be cautious where and how much you use this. It is great, but it can also effect beneficial bugs as well.
Make a Gallon of Garlic Pepper Tea
- 6 bulbs of garlic
- 12 peppers of the HOT kind – the hotter the better. We use habeneros, but you can use cayenne, jalepenos, scottish bonnets, etc.
- 2 Full Gallons of Distilled water
- 1 empty gallon of water container
- 2 sets of nonporous gloves
- eye protection (look pretty cool doing it, too!)
- 1 spray bottle
- 1 blender (this is the one we use)
- funnel (this is my favorite set, but then I love everything Oxo!)
1. Peel the garlic bulb of its paper. Depending on your blender’s capability, you can choose to peel the skins off each clove of garlic or not. We just save the time and strain at the end since we have to anyway. (You can use one of these funky rolling peelers and do quite a few at the same time or watch the video at the end of the post to do it quickly! I’ll be honest…I tried this and it didn’t work for me, but my secondary bowl might not been large enough to give it more space.)
2. Pull the stems off the peppers. Make sure to wear gloves so that the pepper juice doesn’t get on your hands! Our blender would probably make mince of these, but it’s super quick to do, so we just do it to save the effort later.
3. Add the garlic cloves, the peppers and approximately 2 pints of distilled water to your blender.
4. Our Secret Ingredient — we add about 1/4 C of raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar to our spray.
6. Run your blender on pulse a few times to get the chopping going, then set it on high and let it run for awhile. You want a pulverized mash of all the ingredients.
7. VERY CAREFULLY — pour your mush through a strainer and into your empty gallon container . Allow each small batch to drain fully, even pressing down with your gloved hand or a ladle to get all the juice out. Use your leftover distilled water to run through once or twice more to get all of the juice out. Discard the pulp. Repeat.
The pulp can be composted, but do it in a long-term bed that you’re not likely to be messing in soon.
8. Fill your spray bottle with about 5 oz of the tea. My husband does like to use it a little stronger, so he does 10 oz. But 5 is plenty. Fill the rest of the bottle with fresh distilled water. We opt not to use chlorinated tap water making this tea so as not to kill any beneficial enzymes. Alterntively, if you have a lot of area to cover, try using one of these sprayers. It will make your task much easier. The sprayer is also great to work with this folliar feed to help build up your plants to make them healthier which lends them to less infeststation.
9. Store out of the reach of children or silly adults. We wash our utensils in hot soapy water and let them soak for awhile before putting into the dishwasher.
OW! I picked my nose while doing this and now my head is on fire!!!!!!!!
Remember, this is full of capsaicin. This is the oil that makes a pepper hot and if it gets on your skin, in a cut, in your mouth, ears, nose and eyes, it will burn like the Dickins and his whole family of cousins.
Milk is a great relief agent if you happen to pick your nose in the process or splash the stuff in your eyes. Washing your membranes just moves the oil around more because water and oil do not mix. Washing or bathing or jumping into a swimming pool full of whole milk will help bring relief. If you don’t believe me, you can always believe the Mythbusters.
How to Use Garlic Pepper Tea Spray in Your Garden
Spray on effected leaves/plants/vegetables. You don’t have to douse the plant or get very nook and cranny. General spraying is fine.
You will need to respray after any extended rain event or heavy rains. Remember, this repells good and bad bugs, so use judiciously. Don’t eat the fruit, herbs or vegetables that you spray for about two hours after spraying. While this is still fresh and damp on the outside, you will feel the effects (see what do I do if I burn my head off note above). Once absorbed fully, you don’t taste it.
YOUR THOUGHTS? What natural remedies do you use to repell bugs in the garden?
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How to Peel Garlic in Less than 10 Seconds