Aphids, Whiteflies, Mites

Aphids, Whiteflies, Mites
I know I am not the only gardener to be plagued by pests!   Those tiny green or brown aphids that suck the life out of the leaves and stems, the teeny white flies that love to munch, but stay hidden on the underside of leaves, the microscopic mites that produce icky webbing, and leave the plants barren of the nutrients they need to produce good fruit.  

I live in the central valley of California and it is hot and dry in the summer.  This weather is perfect for those pests, but not ideal for many plants.  One way to help prevent pests in the first place is to have the soil well balanced with nutrients so the plants are healthy and strong.  Another way is to have consistent watering and enough water!  I water early in the morning.  There is not much humidity, so when it is in the 100s, I often water any drooping plants again in the evening just a little to help them perk up.

But that is not always enough.  Pests invade anyway!  They creep in quietly and before you are aware - you have a full-on infestation!  Checking every day can help you spot trouble before it gets too bad.  

Commercial sprays are full of chemicals that I choose not to use in my organic garden.  Even if I didn't get the commercial sprays on the fruits and vegetables themselves, they would still have trace amounts inside.  One reason I grow a garden is to stay away from the pesticide covered fruits and veggies in the stores!  I have experimented with some things and found a combination of ingredients that works well as a DIY spray.  It is critical to spray the underside of the leaves, as that is where they like to be.  Spraying weekly can help trouble areas recover.  

Recipe 1:
One squirt Thieves Dish Soap (about 1 teaspoon) You can also use Dr. Bronner's Castille soap 
about 1 teaspoon fractionated coconut oil
5-10 drops Citronella essential oil
5-10 drops Peppermint essential oil
5-10 drops Tea Tree essential oil (This is especially helpful for powdery mildew, too)

Recipe 2:
One squirt Thieves Dish Soap (about 1 teaspoon) You can also use Dr. Bronner's Castille soap 
about 1 teaspoon fractionated coconut oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil
10 drops orange essential oil

Fill bottle with water or a filtered infusion of citronella or peppermint leaves
Attach a spray top and enjoy.  
Spray in the evening, as sunburn can occur when spraying during daylight hours.  
You may get some on your skin - this will not harm you, but you may want to rinse the soap off afterwards as it is a little sticky.  



Find Essential Oils and THieves dish soap here.