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Sprays for the Garden

August 18, 2010

It’s a little late in the summer for this, but it’s getting posted for future reference. I often use the search tool on my blog to look up things I’ve previously written about. :)

This is our second year using the easiest yet very effective homemade insecticide for our garden.  We had a big issues with our green beans last year, due to the Mexican bean beetle, an ugly little beast that destroyed our plants before we’d gotten more than a large handful of green beans from them.

Photo Credit: Jason Riedy/Flickr CC

Ugh, I hate these guys.  I can sit in the dirt with the best of them, but picking the larvae off the leaves and squishing them between two rocks, the yellow guts shining brightly, icks me out to no end.  This year, we realized what they were early, and started spraying.  They’ve eaten some of the plants quite a bit, but we’ve managed to harvest pounds of green beans by now, thanks to this spray.

Here are the ingredients:

General Insecticide Spray

  • An old Windex bottle, left over from our previous non-green cleaning life.
  • 1-2 tbsps of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile soap (though I’ve used unscented before)
  • 1 quart water (or as much that will fit in the bottle)

That’s it.  There’s all sorts of more complicated recipes on the web, but these not only have sufficiently dealt with our Mexican bean beetle problem, but the flea beetle problem on our eggplants as well.

Another problem we countered for the first time this year was powdery mildew. Again, since it was our first time seeing it, we didn’t realize the issue until much much later. I’m surprised we got as many cucumbers as we did since we didn’t spray the plants until very late in the season. We also lost most of our zucchini to this.

Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina/Flickr CC

Another super quick and efficient fix here though as well!

Powdery Mildew Spray

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Few drops of liquid soap

And voila! Spray once a week (I usually spray after a rain, which is more than once a week here) and it will clear up almost overnight.  Amazing.

I’m sure as we go on gardening year after year, we will encounter more and more plant issues to deal with.  But each year we figure it out eventually!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2010 10:15 pm

    I’m going to actually start a garden next year and I use your search tool for the same reason. I love all the natural solutions since I don’t do well with the spays.

  2. August 19, 2010 8:17 am

    Thanks for the tips! I had the same problem with my zucchini this year – the white mildew thing. I still got quite a few zucchinis but next year I will be sure to spray.
    Love your blog!!

  3. Jason Riedy permalink
    August 19, 2010 9:15 am

    Powdery mildew also succumbs to a 10% solution of non-fat milk in water. Nice protein bath for the leaves, too. Will have to look into your idea for bean beetles. Hate those buggers…

  4. August 19, 2010 4:05 pm

    Sweet recipes!

    Next year, garden bugs can go suck it! Haha! (I imagine myself wearing a cape and running around the garden spritzing bugs liberally)

  5. September 27, 2010 4:11 pm

    Thank you for the natural sprays! We lost our squash and cukes to powdery mildew as well. Luckily we put up a bunch of squash early in the summer. Here’s to better luck next year!

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