3 Household Items to Keep Your Garden Pests at Bay DIY

Elena K, Hometalk TeamHometalkerOzone Park, NY

I love Spring! After the cold winter, I can finally get to work in the garden. Seeing plants growing and flowers blooming makes me happy – Until it turns into a bug house, that is.
Luckily, I have a secret weapon (or rather, three) right on my pantry to keep these pesky pests under control.

STEP 1: Prevention

Before diving into how to make the sprays, let me emphasize how important is prevention. The best way to avoid-or minimize-insect damage is to prevent a pest attack. Follow these easy steps to discourage unwanted visitors.
1. Remove infected plants or trim infected areas as soon as possible. Dispose of them in a bag. Once you’re done close it and put it away from the garden, then clean your tools to prevent other areas to get infected.
2. Use good soil. (See my last tip at the very end.) Mulch and fertilize regularly.
3. Minimize areas attractive to insects by clearing debris and weeds, and using new mulch.
4. Rotate crops and mix your plants, especially with edibles. Insect pests usually favor specific plants. By rotating you’re more likely to avoid a re-infestation if the pest has over-wintered in the same area.
5. Keep your foliage dry: water in the early morning hours, and if possible at the base of the plants. Wet leaves encourage insect damage and fungal diseases to spread.
6. And finally, disinfect!

STEP 2: Gather Your Ingredients

I know it sounds funny, but bear with me to discover the wonders of garlic, hot sauce, and soap in the garden.
Turns out garden pests (and insects in general) don’t have a taste for garlic-y, spicy food. So much the better!
So get to your pantry-or take a trip to the supermarket-because we’re going to make three pest-control sprays in a breeze.


  1. 1-2 teaspoons of Liquid soap (Ivory or dish soap) or Bronner’s, ideally organic
  2. 2-3 cloves of garlic
  3. 1-3 teaspoons of hot sauce or better, cayenne pepper
  4. 1/4 quart of water
  5. Spray bottle

The BASIC SOAP SPRAY is useful with a wide variety of garden pests, including aphids, scale, mites, and thrips.
Why does it work? The soap dissolves the outer coating or shell of the insects, eventually killing them.

Making the SOAP SPRAY is so easy!


Grab 1/4 quart of tap water, room temperature or slightly lukewarm, and add 1-1.5 teaspoons of liquid soap, preferably biodegradable. You know the soap may end up in the soil, right?
TIP: Dish soap is usually more concentrated, so a little less than a teaspoon may suffice. You can also use Bronners soap-my favorite-if you have it handy or even Ivory soap.
If you’re not sure how concentrated your soap is, I suggest you start with less than 1 teaspoon per quart and not to use more than 2 teaspoons.


You can also add a teaspoon of oil.
The oil will smother the insects, eventually killing them.
TIP: Canola or mineral are ok, but my favorite are organic edible oils – almond or a light olive oil are good.


Close the bottle and shake it so the oil mixes well with the soap.


To avoid problems, don’t forget to label your concoction!
Grab a pair of scissors, tape and a marker and write the ingredients and amounts.

You can also add a title-for example GARDEN SOAP SPRAY-and a date.
So everybody in the household knows what’s in there and where to use it.


Time to test your handy work!
TIP: Before you go out and start spraying, make sure you read “A Few Things to Keep in Mind” at the end of the post.
In a nutshell-because I know you’re dying to use it 😉
– TEST IT FIRST in a small area.
– Don’t use in full sun, a very hot day, or overspray.
– And make sure you apply ONLY to areas with pests, it’ll also affect good insects like ladybugs
(More, as I said, below.)

MAKING A GARLIC SPRAY > very similar to the SOAP SPRAY, except that it also has garlic.

Turns out insects don’t like garlic, so it makes a great repellent. Whiteflies, aphids, and most beetles will avoid plants sprayed with garlic oil.
This mixture works because the compounds in garlic (namely, diallyl disulfide and diallyl trisulfide) are irritating or deadly to many insects. The oil and soap help the mixture stick to plant leaves.


To make this wonder, just put 2-3 cloves of minced garlic into 2 teaspoons of oil.
TIP: Feel free to crush the garlic instead of mincing it.


Mix it well with a spoon and let it sit overnight. You’ll strain the garlic out of the oil the next day.


Pour 1 PINT of water in your spray bottle and add 1 teaspoon of soap (about half if it’s concentrate, like a dish soap).


Strain garlic out of oil and mix it with the soapy water.
TIP: To avoid spilling the oil-especially if the spray bottle has a narrow mouth-you can use a funnel under the strainer.


Once you’re done, close the bottle, shake the concoction and label it: include ingredients and title/date in your label.

TIP: Don’t apply it on a sunny day or when the area is sunny – it may burn the leaves. It will also affect beneficial insects so apply only to infected areas

The last spray I want to share today is the HOT PEPPER!

The Pepper spray is great if you have problems with mites and whiteflies, but you may need to reapply.
It is the compound capsaicin, which causes the “heat” in hot peppers, that makes it work. Capsaicin is as irritating to insects as it is to us – have you ever felt the heat in your fingers when cutting a hot pepper?


Simply mix up to 2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper or chili powder; a few drops of (biodegradable) dish soap; and 1 QUART of water and let it sit overnight.
TIP: You can use measuring spoons instead of a teaspoon. Either way is fine.
CAUTION! The ground cayenne pepper may clog the spray!
Use a strainer with tiny holes and a very fine cheese cloth as well. You can strain the concoction a few times. Using a very finely ground pepper should prevent the problem.
Or, you can also use hot sauce or liquid cayenne pepper instead.

TIP: shake your spray bottle frequently to avoid separation and apply spray only to infested plants

Again remember to use it on a cloudy day or when the area is shaded



  • You can start with a more diluted solution and increase amounts a little later. It’s always better to err in the side of caution.

– ALWAYS TEST SPRAY in a small area before doing a full application

  • Don’t forget to spray under the leaves, where many insects like to hide
  • Don’t spray on high heat or full sun-spray may burn the leaves! Try to avoid also spraying on distressed plants (for example, if they’re droopy or it’s very hot), as spray may cause harm.
  • Spray in the morning or evening, before dusk.
  • Reapply after rain.
  • To maintain, you can reapply once a week.

As I mentioned earlier the best weapon in my arsenal is COMPOST!
It will add nutrients, improve the soil structure, and the number of beneficial microbes. Plus, it’s a great way of reducing waste.
So, instead of throwing all the organic matter into the garbage next time, why not start composting?


Procter & Gamble Launches Eco-Friendly Plant-Based Cleaning Product Line!

By Sharon Vega

Procter & Gamble recently joined the Humane Society’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign, and began by making their Herbal Essences brand certified cruelty-free. They also seem to be moving in a more natural and eco-friendly direction with their new brand, Home Made Simple. The new lifestyle brand is plant-based and all the bottles are recyclable.

The new product line includes hand soap, dish soap, multipurpose cleaner, laundry detergent and fabric softener. Up to 95 percent of the formulas contain plant-derived ingredients and they’re all free of gluten, parabens, phthalates, phosphates, and dyes.

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s actually a television show on Oprah’s OWN network. The concept came from a Procter & Gamble newsletter 15 years ago. Host of the show, Laila Ali says: “I am excited to continue my partnership with Home Made Simple as they expand into offering consumers a line of naturally inspired, plant-based cleaning products. As the host of Home Made Simple’s TV show, I meet a lot of families across the country that want products in their home that they can trust and, as a mom, I feel the same way. Home Made Simple has created this line for people just like us who are looking for an effective clean they can feel good about.”

The products are available in three scents: Rosemary, Lavender and Lemon, and since they use natural ingredients, they’re also gentle on skin. However, the line also has environmental benefits. All the Home Made Simple bottles are 100 percent recyclable and some of the bottles are made with 25 percent.

The products will be available on Amazon, Walmart, CVS and groceries. In the meantime, if you’re looking for natural products, check out 15 Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products for a Sparkling Home!


How to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden

Before taking those spent coffee grounds to your yard, learn the facts about giving your garden a caffeine fix.

As clocks spring ahead to daylight saving time, that lost hour of sleep sends most of us reaching for a second cup of joe. In addition to a caffeine jolt, those extra cups create lots of used coffee grounds — at home and in shops around the country. If your favorite barista is bagging grounds to go for garden use, hit the pause button before you grab a few bags. Learn what you need to know about using coffee grounds in the garden.

If you tune into the grounds-for-gardens channel, you’ll learn that people count on used coffee grounds to do all kinds of things. Spread on planting beds like mulch, grounds are said to repel cats, fertilize soil, kill slugs and keep weeds at bay. A coffee mulch is also rumored to beckon earthworms and acidify soil. Other gardeners work coffee grounds into beds, swearing it aerates and acidifies soil.

Just the Java facts

There’s limited research on using coffee grounds in the garden, and much of what has been done involves:

tests to determine if grounds are acidic (mostly they are)
what happens as grounds break down (they eventually shift from acid to more or less neutral pH)
testing grounds on various agricultural crops (it either enhances or deters growth, depending on the plant)

As with most rumors, even the ones about coffee grounds contain a grain of truth. While coffee grounds have not been found to repel or kill pests, they do have some antimicrobial properties. In very specific controlled research conditions, grounds have suppressed some diseases (fungus rots and wilts) on spinach, bean, tomato and cucumber. Could you replicate those conditions in a garden setting? Likely not.

In terms of fertilizing soil, coffee grounds do have significant nitrogen content, which means they can help improve soil fertility. But because they also affect microorganisms in soil, plant growth and possibly soil pH, you don’t want to rely on coffee grounds as plant food.

Several independent pH tests on coffee grounds show that they tend to be acidic. In most cases, the grounds are too acidic to be used directly on soil, even for acid-loving plants like blueberries, azaleas and hollies.

Coffee grounds inhibit the growth of some plants, including geranium, asparagus fern, Chinese mustard and Italian ryegrass. Conversely, grounds (used as mulch and compost) improve yields of soybeans and cabbage. In other cases, grounds inhibit seed germination of clovers (red and white) and alfalfa. On the flip side, coffee grounds enhance sugar beet seed germination. The effects of coffee grounds on seeds and plants is variable, unreliable and tough to call.

Coffee Grounds for Gardens

So what’s the right course of action with coffee grounds? Follow these tips for the best success in repurposing grounds in your garden.

Compost ‘em. The safest way to use coffee grounds is adding to compost. Take care to add grounds so that they comprise only 10 to 20 percent of your total compost volume. Any higher, and they might inhibit good microbes from breaking down organic matter. Another way to approach this volume is to add 4 parts shredded leaves to 1 part coffee grounds (by weight). Some folks still suggest adding lime or wood ash to the compost to offset the initial acidity of the grounds. You can do that, but it’s not really necessary. If you want to do it, aim for a ratio of 1 cup of lime or ash to 10 pounds of grounds.
Spread thinly and cover. Using coffee grounds as a thick mulch isn’t a great idea because they tend to compact, forming a barrier that doesn’t let air or water pass. If you want to spread grounds on soil, use a thin layer (half an inch, tops) covered with a thicker layer (2-4 inches) of organic matter, such as shredded bark, wood chips or compost.
Shift soil pH. If your goal is to acidify notoriously alkaline soils west of the Mississippi River, take a soil test first to know your soil’s pH. If you need to acidify it, dig grounds into soil to a depth of 7 to 8 inches.


By Nancy Posted in Uncategorized Tagged

15 Cruelty-Free Lipsticks to Add to Your Makeup Bag! – One Green PlanetOne Green Planet

A good shade of lipstick has the power to brighten your attire look and give you that extra bit of confidence to walk around like the boss you are! to feel good about the lipstick you’re using as well as yourself, it’s best to use cruelty-free products. This way you know that no animals were harmed in order for you to achieve your gorgeous look.💄

To help you out, we put together 15 beautiful cruelty-free lipsticks available on Amazon that you should check out. Some of them might just become your go-to and permanent additions to your makeup bag!🐇