Natural recipes for a Pest Free Garden

A beautiful and healthy garden is possible without the use of expensive and often hazardous chemicals. The following are a number of natural recipes to create safe and effective deterrents to bugs, pets and other pests. With a little effort, you'll be doing your garden and the environment a big favour.

All-purpose Insect Spray

Chop or grind garlic and onion, add cayenne and mix with water. Let steep 1 hour, then add liquid soap. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator up to one week. Use as a spray wherever insects are causing a problem.

Animal Repellent Sprays




Use as a spray on the plants and yard areas where these animals are causing a problem.


Aphids: 10" x 10" pieces of masonite or other stiff material, painted bright yellow and coated with Tap Trap or Tack Trap or Tanglefoot or pertroleum jelly, placed near susceptible plants.

Earwigs: Pieces of corrugated cardboard are placed near lettuce, Chinese cabbage, flowers (plants which are attracted to earwigs). They will hide in and under the cardboard. After a few days, collect in the morning, crush or drown.

Slugs or Squash Bugs: Lay out boards near affected plants; they will provide daytime shelter for those nocturnal pests. Inspect daily.

Natural Recipes for Insecticides and Fungicides

Problem Solution Recipe
aphids, thrips Stinging Nettle Spray Cover 1 quart nettles with water, cover and steep for 3 weeks, dilute with 7 parts of water.
aphids, June beetles, Black Spot, fungus diseases Rhubarb Spray Steep 6 rhubarb leaves in 2 to 3 quarts of boiling water.
chewing/sucking insects, mildew, leaf spot, rust, spore disease Garlic Spray Steep 3 cloves of garlic, 1 medium onion and 1 teaspoon of very hot pepper in 1 quart of water for 10 minutes, then strain. Can be diluted with water 1:4.
chewing/sucking insects Pyrethrum Spray Steep 1 tbsp of dry flower heads in 2 quarts of hot water. Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) is an attractive perennial with marguerite daisy-like flowers.
white flies Mullein Spray Steep 1 part mashed mullein leaves with 5 parts of water.
aphids, asparagus larvae, Black Spot, scale insects Tomatoe Leaves Steep 10 chopped tomatoe leaves and 1 chopped onion in 1/2 cup of alcohol for a few minutes; apply with a swab.
spider mites, cabbage worms Salt Solution 1 oz. table salt in 1 gallon of water.
mosaic disease on tomatoes and peppers Skim Milk Spray Sour milk has been used against cabbage worms.
potato blight, Black Spot, yellowing tomato leaves Manure Tea (liquid) 1/2 commercial bag of manure or 1 mesh onion bag full of old manure and straw steeped in 1/2 of a large plastic garbage can of water.
*Adapted from materials produced by the Canadian Organic Growers, Toronto.