Natural Pesticides : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I'm pretty leery of using chemicals on next year's garden - I've heard that even washing the plants won't get the pesticides off. (Besides, I've got better things to stockpile than hazardous chemicals. I can always run down to the local ELF Atochem for that. ;-) ) Are there any other ways to keep bugs off of what I grow, please?

I'm a newbie when it comes to planting, so any advice is greatly appreciated! :-)

Thank you...

-- Deb M. (, November 02, 1999


Deb, You'll find a start at some books and websites on organic gardening at the following URL:

Check the other archived threads as well.

Don't assume that you can "always run down to the local ELF Atochem for that". Consider assembling this year whatever gardening supplies you might need for next year.

Also, don't assume that just because it is natural that it is not highly toxic.

One of the best things you can do is to build up the health of the soil (and indirectly the plants) by adding lots of organic matter.

Where are you located and what sorts of things are you thinking of growing?

-- Brooks (, November 02, 1999.


Thanks for the link - I'll check into these as soon as I can.

"Deb, You'll find a start at some books and websites on organic gardening at the following URL: a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=0016kp Check the other archived threads as well."

What I was joking about "ELF", as far as I know they make industrial- grade chemicals, but nothing that would be used for gardening... But I do agree with you about not being complacent about getting supplies soon.

"Don't assume that you can "always run down to the local ELF Atochem for that". Consider assembling this year whatever gardening supplies you might need for next year."

Nope, never made that assumption... I know about Rhubarb leaves and tomato plant stems.

"Also, don't assume that just because it is natural that it is not highly toxic."

Composting, right? Hopefully the link you provided will go into more detail.

"One of the best things you can do is to build up the health of the soil (and indirectly the plants) by adding lots of organic matter."

Central Ohio. Hoping to set up a small greenhouse. This summer, I would like to plant corn, tomatoes, squash, beans...

"Where are you located and what sorts of things are you thinking of growing?"

-- Brooks (, November 02, 1999.

Again, thanks Brooks.

-- Deb M. (, November 02, 1999.

Composting is very easy. Leaves, grass clippings,weeds, vegetable scraps--just about any type of plant material can be used. A few tips: Chopped material breaks down faster that chunky stuff like twigs, large weeds etc. Use only plant material--no meat, bones, oil or anything animal in origin. Avoid thorny plants (ouch). I never put tomato, pepper, squash,cucumber, potato, or eggplant stems or vines in the compost pile because of disease concerns. Burning is best because the compost may not get hot enough to kill the viruses that can plague these plants. Do not use human or pet waste--also for disease concerns. Livestock manure is OK. Flip your pile often to keep everything mixed up.

You can speed up the process by adding a small amount of sugar (to feed the microorganisms) and by adding soil from your garden. I sprinkle a small handful of sugar over the pile before I turn it and a few shovelsful of dirt over the top after turns (cuts down on odors and adds beneficial bacteria).

Wet down the pile (if possible) after adding a lot of stuff. This helps with decay and heats up the pile.

If you live in town, and have to have a bin for your compost you can build one very easily. Go to the lumberyard and buy eight 8-foot 2x4s and ask them to cut the boards in half. Nail (I prefer sheet rock screws) four 4-foot pieces together to make a square [] frame. Attach chicken wire to the frame with fencing staples (or bent over nails). Repeat the process so you have four separate panels [] [] [] []. Attach the panels together with hooks and eyes so you have a square box. Dump in your compost material. When its time to turn the compost, disassemble the bin and reassemble it next to the pile and fork over the compost. The sides will tend to bulge as the bin fills up so you can reinforce each panel by adding another 4-foot 2x4 across the middle and on the outside of each panel (then you would need an additional two 8-foot boards cut in half). You can pretty it up for the neighbors by adding lattice to the outside of each panel (a 4x8 sheet cut in half). Cedar lumber lasts the longest, but cheap lumber can be painted or treated with a water sealer.

When the compost is ready (it sould look like chunky peatmoss) run it through a sieve made of hardware cloth. I just bend a piece over the top of my wheelbarrow and crumble the compost with my hands. What doesn't go through the sieve goes back into the pile. Sieving isn't absolutely necessary, but it makes it easier to distribute the compost evenly throughout the garden and around established plants.

-- Sam Mcgee (, November 02, 1999.


Any plant in the Allium family (Garlic, Onion, Leek) is a natural bug repellent. Soak some in water (about a clove of garlic to a quart of water), or if the juice is on, mix it up in a blender. Strain the mixture to take out any chunks and spray it on the plants. Refresh every five days or so, or after a rain.

...of course one has to like the taste of garlic, since you never quite get rid of the residual taste(G).

Anecdotally, I heard once that this is the source of the belief that garlic keeps away vampires. At one time, a lot of bug-born ilnesses were blamed on vampire attacks, and it was noticed that people who ate lots of garlic seemed to never come down with these afflictions....just more useless information to clutter up our already overtaxed brains....

-- Bokonon (, November 02, 1999.

Picking the bugs, larva and eggs by hand
is a sure-fire way to keep on top of these
pests, even though it is quite labor intensive.
Learn what pests are on which plants. When
they begin to hatch (you'll see the larva
crawling around) look under the leaves and
destroy all their eggs by scraping.

Spider's Great Aphid Solution is made of oil,
capsicum and tobacco. Paint at the base of
the plant and keep fresh. This will deter ants
from putting the aphids out to range on your

Put wood ash around carrot, onion and radish
to deter the fly from laying its eggs in the

Marigolds around the perimeter deter invasions
slightly but every little bit helps.

Strong healthy plants resist pests better that
weak plants. Use good composted soil.

The egg laying cycle of insects is short so
you only need to be vigilant during these times.

-- spider (, November 03, 1999.

*Sigh*, here I go again, against the grain, but here goes: :-)

Newbies to gardening, I think are overly scared of failure; y2k can only add so much stress to that, thinking we may need to depend on our produce for part of our food supply. I am giving advice here based on this thought, that we may need to depend on our gardens for at least partial food supply, or at the very least, too offset high freash produce prices. So, that said, chemical residue vs. having food to eat?

Organic methods are great, I practice them, finally, almost exclusively. However, my soil has been worked with for almost 12 years and I have had successes and failures. I posses fungicides, and chemical fertilizers, sevin dust, biological pest killers and all that nasty stuff, and I don't hesitate for one moment using them if it means saving the food. Because, just like you buy a cow for the milk, you plant a garden for the food.

However, if you do use chemical treatments, you MUST learn to use them correctly and safely. Home use of chemicals *used sparingly and safely* is probably still a far cry safer than alot of commercial produce we eat daily in freash or canned form. Either way, we control the process, we make the choice of how much and when to use.

Also, gardening is a science, but a very established and researched science. Get a variety of information and have a basic supply of orgainic and chemical pest solutions and fertilizers on hand, put in the sweat equity, practice composting and mulching, and you will surprise yourself at how well you do.

Debi would have to be concerned especially with corn and bean diseases and pests, since they are common crops in her area. My first gardens where in Ohio clay in a worn out corn/soy bean field. It would have taken TONS of orgainic matter to get such a soil to produce healthy, disease resistant plants without the aid of chemicals the first couple of years. Debi, I hope you are better blessed than I was, but my smaller kitchen garden was the site of an old chicken coop, and did very well.

If one's motive for learning gardening at this point, is because you believe you will need the food as a hedge against higher prices or if you feel you will need your garden for basic nutritional needs, learn both chemical and organic methods (like there is not enough to learn already). Then stock up on chemical and biological treatments, if you choose to, that will meet your needs. Just stocking a modest supply gives ya an edge while gaining experience with orgainic solutions. Likewise with fertilizers, especially on new ground. Basic fertilizer, here locally, costs $4.50 a bag. I used a little over one bag, I think, on my large garden.

Talk to the folks in your area that have gardens you admire. You know, the ones you drive by in your daily comings and goings. If ya see them out, stop by, say, "I have driven by,I am new to gardening, blah, blah, blah..gosh that was some tomato crop you had!" LOL, make sure you have plenty of time, cause you are about to get Tomato 101. Heck, if it is one thing gardeners like to do, it is brag, or I mean share , and thus free knowledge for concerns in your area.

Also, you will learn locally what trace minerals, or lack of, your soil is subject to. This will give you information about which fertilizers to choose and you can also look for items for the compost pile that are high in these trace nutrients.

Your local county extension will offer soil testing and has a kit you can pick up at their office. It is either a free service or nominal charge, can't recall.

If so motivated to join a club, look up local gardening club resources, meetings announcements in local newspapers, etc. ask at the library who meets when. Librarians seem to be higher per capita of gardeners, go figure? The local extension service will be able to give you more information than you expected.

A couple of good links:

La nd Grant Universities


Ohio State U

Rot Webb on Home Composting and natural gardening.

-- Lilly (, November 03, 1999.

Hi Deb - You might enjoy poking around over at

They have lots of different forums on gardening and the people are really helpful. If you are new to gardening the very best thing you can do RIGHT NOW is to order a load of compost and have someone come and till your beds for you. That way it can sit over winter and be nice and ready come planting time.

Also, get your compost pile started now. People are raking leaves and there are bags full for the asking. Get as many as you can, and build those piles so you have some nice compost come spring.

You might also want to build your library with a couple good gardening books. Don't count on being able to go online to find out what you need to know. Best of luck!

-- mommacarestx (, November 06, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ