As an avid gardener, I am all too familiar with that sinking feeling one gets when plucking a suspiciously light tomato. Turning that hard-earned piece of fruit over to see that it's been partially devoured by pests is such a bummer. But despite the many ravenous critters in my neighborhood I can't bring myself to spray pesticides in my garden.
I love that my veggies and herbs are grown naturally, depending on the bounty of nature; water, sunlight, and compost, to make them thrive. Still, it would be nice to lose less of the harvest to pesky bugs.
While researching homemade garden sprays I stumbled upon two familiar ingredients: Neem Oil and Liquid Castile Soap. Apparently, insects really don't like either one, and since these ingredients are 100% natural and almost entirely non-toxic, I can spray away without feeling guilty about tainting my local eco-system.
This recipe is made for personal use, but can also be used as inspiration for more serious formulators. Just keep in mind that labeling laws in the United States are very strict when it comes to making and selling anything related to pesticide. Be sure to do your homework before developing anything that is intended for sale. The following articles should help get you started:
- Pesticides Overview | epa.gov
- Determining If a Cleaning Product Is a Pesticide Under FIFRA | fda.gov
- FDA Labeling Claims | fda.gov
- Neem Oil Fact Sheet | National Pesticide Information Center
Castile & Neem Garden Spray
Makes about 1 quart
- 1 quart distilled water
- 3 tablespoons Neem Oil
- 1 tablespoon Liquid Castile Soap
- 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- Combine neem oil, castile soap, and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Combine mixture with water in quart sized jar or 32 ounce spray bottle.
Usage & Packaging
- To use, shake well, then spray directly on leaves and foliage of garden plants. Discontinue use if discoloration or permanent spotting appears. Re-apply as needed.
- This recipe is best used right away, but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, if necessary.
- Our 16 Ounce PET Boston Round with Sprayer makes a great storage and use solution for this recipe, but any standard spray bottle should do.
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