Having spent the first years of my life in a “concrete jungle”, I was not gifted with the appreciation for outdoorsy things such as walking bare feet on grass, mud and dirt, and insects. This is quite a dilemma for a gardener as insects can be helpful for the plants, I know, but I still prefer to have a little distance.
The first time I saw something moving on the plants (it was back in May when I just started the garden (victim=mini roses / culprit = spider mites), I was so disgusted I threw the entire plant away immediately thinking it will spread to other plants if I don’t.
The second time was in August when I saw spider mites on my Oregano Kent Beauty. I did not want to throw the plant away as it was well-established in a container with Texan bluebells, and both types of plants are not easy to come by. So I did some research on the net and after some testing, came up with a simple potion which 1) works, 2) does not harm the plants, and 3) stores well!
The smell of this insecticide (simple mixture of hot chili pepper and garlic) is very unpopular with the insect population.
Ingredients and materials (for 500mL of insecticide):
- an empty 500mL PET bottle with cap
- plastic spray nozzle which can be screwed onto the PET bottle
- cheesecloth or fine-grain mesh bag for straining
- 2 tablespoons chopped dried chili peppers (or use an equivalent amount of dried whole chili peppers)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 500mL boiling hot water
- Put the chili peppers and garlic in a large beaker or container with a spout which can hold over 500mL of water.
- Pour boiling hot water (about 500mL) into the container and leave overnight
- The next day, strain the mixture and pour the liquid only into PET bottle.
- Screw the nozzle on if using immediately, otherwise, screw the cap on tightly and store in refrigerator.
I recommend making this small batch (500mL) instead of a larger batch if you are working with a small balcony garden, because the mixture does go bad. It is best to store the mixture with the cap on in the freezer and take it out to thaw and use when needed (best to wait until it returns to room temperature before using). I spray the garden weekly as a precaution to keep insects away and find that I use up one bottle in a month.
Results after over a month of use:
I sprayed the affected Oregano Kent Beauty daily with the insecticide, and after a week, the spider mites have retreated. My hubby also used it to successful chase out a loud cricket (which was keeping us awake for days) from beneath the wooden balcony flooring! After the spider mite on Kent Beauty incident, I have been spraying all the plants once a week with the mixture, and have never seen any bugs since, nor any negative effects on the plants.