from sky to seed

The Battle Begins

Organic pesticide is easy to make at home!

Once the organic food buzz faded from the media scene, I remember seeing several articles emerge about how the taste and quality and health benefits were no different from regular old “convention” (i.e.: chemically-treated) foods.

“But people eat organic to save the earth!” came the cry from the masses.

“Yeah, whatever,” said the general public.

Given this, I can sympathize the resistance to the organic food movement.  It’s very expensive, and it doesn’t actually taste different.  If you’re not particularly concerned with environmental protection at a personal level, the price of buying organic is a pretty big hit to home economics.  In the part of Missouri where we live, organic produce is hard to come by and nearly three times the cost of physically identical produce a few aisles over.

But I’ve been really resistant to using pesticides because it just seems stupid to grow your own vegetables out of your own ground and douse it with products created for chemical warfare efforts during WWII.

I had a little cancer scare thing about a year ago and, since then, have been much more careful about what I put in my body, and it just seems stupid to put more chemicals in my body.  Food additives, food dyes, MSG — no thanks.  After all, you only get one body.

So I whipped up a couple homemade pesticides and went out to spray yesterday morning.

I just hope it works.  Fingers crossed.

Spraying the garden at sunrise, before it gets too hot.  You have to be careful about spraying mid-day if you live in warmer climates because you might burn the leaves.  It's been hitting the 90s and 100s here in Missouri, so an early start is key.

Spraying the garden at sunrise, before it gets too hot. Be careful about spraying mid-day if you live in warmer climates because you risk leaf burn. It’s been hitting the 90s and 100s here in Missouri, so an early start is key.  You’re also less likely to harm beneficial insects like ladybugs and bees.

Homemade Pesticide

  1. Neem Oil Method: Mix 2 tbsp neem oil with 1 gallon cold water. This stuff stinks, so you’re best using it outdoors.  Spray every 7 days.  Make a fresh batch before every use, or the neem breaks down.  The neem will smother insects who come in contact with the spray (hence spraying early morning), but kills mainly by ingestion.  Since “good” bugs don’t eat your plants, only the bad ones take a hit.
  2. Vegetable Oil: Mix 4 cups vegetable oil and 4 teaspoons biodegradable soap (I use castile soap) with 1 gallon cold water.  I ripped this method off of an old Mother Earth News article.  Veggie oil is apparently the USDA’s recommendation for homemade pesticidal treatments.  We’ll see how it goes…

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