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Friday, April 21, 2017

Good morning,

Summer is coming very soon and that means gardening! I am a big fan of vegetable gardening in particular for lots of reasons, only a few of which are environmental. But once you go from a few potted pepper plants to a hundred or so square feet of garden in your back yard you are going to have to start dealing with pest control. And being health as well as environmentally conscious you might not want to soak your vegetables and your soil with expensive poisons when there are safer and even cheaper ways.

What are the alternatives? Scroll down for some brilliant ideas.

Thanks for reading,

Your Living Green editor

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* Tobacco or Nicotine Spray. This mixture is great for combating many different types of bugs, but especially caterpillars, aphids, and many types of those nasty worms. Just mix 1 cup of tobacco in 1 gallon of water and let sit for 24 hours. The color should be the shade of weak tea. Warning: Don't use this solution on peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, or any other member of the solanaceous family. Tobacco chemicals can kill these types of plants as well as the pests!

* Soap Spray. Another way to stop the slugs is with soapy water. That's right, you can just use your old, dirty dishwater if you want to! Collect some of the water in a pan and pour it into a watering can or even use a pitcher to pour it over the plants. This works really well on hostas and mums, but also can be used on other hardy plants. Many bugs do not like their lunch spoiled by a soapy aftertaste! For a stronger solution, mix 3 Tablespoons of liquid detergent into a gallon of water. Use this weekly.

* Alcohol Spray. This spray really is great for houseplants. This especially works on meal bugs. Mix 1/2 cup of alcohol and 2-3 tablespoons of dry laundry soap in 1 quart of warm water and spray immediately. You can't store this solution. It must be made fresh for each use.

* Salt Spray. This solution is used for cabbageworms and spider mites. Just mix 2 tablespoons of salt in 1 gallon of water and spray!

* Spearmint-Hot Pepper-Horseradish Spray. This works on too many different kinds of bugs to list! Mix 1/2 cup of red peppers (hot), 1/2 cup of fresh spearmint, 1/2 cup horseradish (root and leaves) and 1/2 cup green onion tops in any open container. Mix in enough water to cover. Once you have your solution strain out the chunky bits, dilute with a half to a whole gallon of water and add 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent. You can use this to spray almost any plant safely. Store this mixture for a few days in a cool environment.