Be it spider mites or aphides or the tiniest mealybugs, pests can kill your favourite plant before you know it.
But are you aware that, with just a little effort, several herbs and kitchen staples can be turned into potent pesticides?
The Better India got in touch with Greeshma Reddy, a plant doctor with Bengaluru-based organic farm ‘My Dream Garden’. Here’s the list she recommends.
With its strong bitter taste and pungent smell, organic neem oil extract repels the harmful bugs, while being completely pet-friendly. 10 to 15 ml of Neem oil can be mixed with a few drops of liquid soap and some warm water and then sprayed on to the plants. The effect is known to last for over a week!
2. Shikakai (Acacia concinna)
Soak a few shikakai pods in water overnight. Next morning, dilute the extract with water in 1:20 ratio. The final solution can be sprayed on the plants every four days.
Take one chilli, one clove of garlic and a small piece of ginger and grind into a fine paste. Squeeze the liquid out of the paste, which then needs to be mixed with one litre of water. Now spray your woes away!
NOTE: Do not use more than 4-5 drops of the liquid in 1 litre of water as overdosage of chilli and ginger can cause inflammation in the plant leaves.
4. Garlic-Pepper-Olive oil
Garlic comes in handy as an organic pesticide in more than one combinations. A blend of garlic, ground pepper and olive oil can be diluted with water in 1:10 ratio and sprayed on plants to keep away the aphids and mites.
Turmeric powder has natural bactericidal and antifungal properties, and you only need to sprinkle a pinch on the leaves of the plants to protect them from flies and ants.
6. Coffee grounds
Coffee grounds can be mixed with compost as a mulching component, which will keep the soil free from fungal infestation. Coffee tends to acidify the soil, thereby keeping the fungi at bay, while slowly decomposing into rich manure.
“Organic pesticides are always preferable over chemical ones since these can be easily prepared from scratch and are harmless. All of these are pet-friendly as well as pose no chance of allergy to the plant parents! Also, overdosage of chemical pesticides can often kill the plant, a risk that can be eliminated with the organic pesticides!”
— Greeshma Reddy, Plant Doctor, My Dream Garden
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)