Monday, July 11, 2011

Uninvited Garden Guests

Flea beetles have taken up residence in my garden and are eating the heck out of some of my plants. Sneaky bastards! They've been munching on my swiss chard for awhile which I ignored. Then they moved on to my basil which is annoying but not a big deal since I also have some growing inside. But when they moved on to my eggplant and especially my purple sicilian cauliflower I decided they must be stopped.

flea beetle damage eggplant basil swiss chard cauliflower

Since organic rotenone based insecticides are broad spectrum (which means they may also kill beneficial insects) I'm going to try a homemade deterrent to get rid of the flea beetles. I made a garlic oil spray and I'm going to try misting the plants weekly. My first application was Friday evening, I'll let you know how much success I have with this natural method. If you are interested in making your own garlic oil spray here is what you'll need:

4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 - 3 teaspoons of mineral oil
1 teaspoon of dish soap
1 liter sized spray bottle

Combine minced garlic and mineral oil in a glass bowl and allow to soak for 24 hours. I mashed the minced garlic with the back of a spoon after I added it to the mineral oil to extract as much oil out of the garlic as possible. After 24 hours combine oil & garlic mixture with soap, add to the spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Shake well and mist affected plants.

You can also try sprinkling smashed mint leaves around the base of your plants as a preemptive flea beetle deterrent. Do you have any natural pest deterrent home remedies to share?

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  1. I have been using Neem oil. An organic product. I have found it at Lowe's. Its an oil extract from the Neem tree. I have been pleased with its results. The flea beetles were destroying my eggplants and peppers before i started using it. I used the garlic, soap, hot pepper oil, etc. I personally really think the Neem oil is great.

  2. @schwedsct If I see no results with the garlic oil I am definitely going to try Neem oil. Thanks for the recommendation.