MOLINE, Ill. — News 8 plant and garden expert Craig Hignight says the best time to start planting is any time past Mother's Day. And with that gardening comes pests. But there are many natural remedies that you can use to combat pests if you do not want to use chemicals on your plants.
Aphids and mealy bugs
The natural remedy to solve this problem is to mix on tablespoon of canola oil and a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Pour into a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the plant from above down and then below up to get the underside of the leaves. The oil smothers the insects.
A natural remedy you can buy is milky spore and spread it on the soil. This causes the grubs to die by infecting them with a disease that kills them while leaving the beneficial organisms unharmed. Since milky spores multiply overtime and will sit inactive waiting to infect the grubs, one treatment can last for up to 40 years.
Mites and other insects
A natural remedy would be to put two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper with a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Let it sit overnight and then pour into a spray bottle. Apply from the top down and then bottom up getting the undersides of the leaves. Shake the spray bottle frequently as you spray your plants.
Earwigs, slugs, and other soft-bodied garden plants
You can buy diatomaceous earth, a natural remedy, and sprinkle it over your plants and around the edges of your garden. Diatoms are small and sharp particles that are only harmful to small insects, slugs, and snails.
Cut a potato into slices and place them on top of the soil. Potatoes can be used as bait to help clear the soil of wireworms before you start planting. Once they are out, you remove the worms along with the potato.
A natural remedy would be to mix two tablespoons of baking soda into a gallon of water and then pour that into a spray bottle. Spray the affected areas, not the whole plant as we have mentioned in sections above. Keep spraying the affected area every few days until it goes away.
For this natural remedy, mix equal parts milk and water in a spray bottle and spray on infected plants. Spraying the infected plants three times a week will help control the disease.
Insects and fungal diseases
Mix one tablespoon of cooking oil, two tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of Ivory soap into a gallon of water. Then pour into a spray bottle. When spraying, apply from top down then bottom up to get the underside of the leaves.
Insects on fruit trees
You can buy lime sulfur and dormant oil at the store. However, commercially made dormant oil may contain petroleum oil or kerosene. You can make your own by mixing one cup of vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Mix the soap and oil first and then add the water. Shake often when spraying on the trunk of tree. You can only use this method when the tree is dormant otherwise you could kill the tree.