Insecticidal Soaps – What is it & How to use it

Do you know what an insecticidal soap is? Does it differ from regular soap? Insecticidal soaps are specifically formulated to have insect-killing properties, while being safe for most plants. All regular soaps are made with a long chain of fatty acids.

Insecticidal soaps kill susceptible insects by washing away the protective coating on the surface of the insect and by disrupting normal membrane functions inside the insect. The insects must come into direct contact with the spray droplets for the material to be effective. Good coverage is essential and doesn’t affect your health.

The soaps have no residual activity toward insects. Note that repeated applications can sometimes have damaging effects on some types of plants. I normally dilute the insecticidal soap by matching the contents with water.

As with all pesticides, you should always follow label instructions carefully. Remember, with insecticidal soap, make sure you spray the insects. Spraying the leaves will not provide as a protective agent.

This is an organic way of controlling pests. More and more growers are turning to chemical free every growing season. Just remember, as with any chemical, too much is never good. Be sure to always follow the directions. Diluting is a good way to maintain, but on the side of caution.

Between my husband and I, unknowingly, we sprayed our potato plants in the spring with insecticidal soap for approximately four days out of a total of seven because the Colorado potato beetle was so prevalent. I didn’t know he sprayed and he didn’t know I had been spraying. Well, can you guess what happened? Our pretty potato plants went to potato heaven.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by clicking on “Subscribe to Master Gardener Girls’ Gardening Blog by Email”. I will keep you up to date with my blogs and occasionally will give you free items like my Free Gardening Journal that you will receive when you subscribe.

Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!

Advertisements

Organic Garden Recipes—More on Fertilizers, Pesticides & Fungicides

Are you in need of some organic recipes to use in your garden? Instead of using chemicals, organic gardeners like to take a simpler approach to fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Successful versions of each can be mixed up using ingredients that are already in your kitchen along with the kitchen blender.

You can make garlic and water insecticide that can be kept in a frozen concentrate form and used later. The garlic mixture can also be added to a seaweed fertilizer, such as kelp, for an extra boost of nutrients every few weeks. A homemade pesticide can be made from habanero peppers (or any other hot pepper) and a homemade fungicide made from baking soda. Plus, tips on the use of eggshells to prevent blossom end rot and aluminum foil to ward off cutworms.

Garlic Tea concentrate:

Ingredients:

Liquefy two bulbs of garlic

1-1/2 cups of water

Directions:

Mix to create concentrated garlic tea, a good all-purpose insecticide that makes crops undesirable to pests. Strain any solids out of the mixture and add enough water to make a gallon. Use this concentrate right away, or freeze in 1/4-cup muffin tins to use later.

Garlic tea can be brewed in combination with a seaweed fertilizer:

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. seaweed

1 Tbsp. vinegar

1 frozen garlic-tea cube

Directions:

Mix in a gallon sprayer. You can apply this application weekly in the spring and once every two to three weeks in the summer months. Habanero peppers also make a good contact insecticide when blended with water. It too can be frozen in concentrate form. It can be added to the seaweed-garlic mixture but should be applied only where an active pest problem is observed.

For curing black spot, mildew or brown patch make an effective fungicide:

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. baking soda

1 tsp. gentle soap

1 gallon water

Directions:

Mix in a sprayer or watering canner. Use this mixture sparingly and keep it off the soil as it affects soil pH.

Tomato Tips: A few other items in your kitchen can help tomato plants. Aluminum foil can be wrapped around the lower 2 inches of the stems of the tomato plants and kept above grade at planting deters cutworms. You could also use paper towel or toilet paper rolls, and tomato sauce cans, with no top or bottom. Broken eggshells can be put in the hole with the tomato plants providing calcium to help prevent blossom end rot.

If you are in need of a good seaweed fertilizer, I have two links under my recommended link section for Gardens Alive! and Yardiac.com in the upper right corner of my home page.

And now I would like to offer you free access to my gardening journal when you subscribe to my blog, a 16 page journal that you can use season after season. Click on Subscribe to My Blog.

Happy Gardening! – The Organic Home and Gardening Gal & Master Gardener