Many gardeners like to use organic products on the plants they are growing. This is also true for the times when they have to use pesticides. For the home gardener, it is not difficult to spray plants with a natural insect repellent to keep any leaf-eating insects from destroying the beautiful foliage.
Do not underestimate the power of regular soap. Soap is a natural insect repellent and is cheap to use. Make your own soapy insect repellent by filling a spray bottle with water and adding 5 drops of dish soap. Use soap and not detergent for best results. If you do not want to make special repellent, use your used soapy dish water to pour over your plants. This will also help keep the bugs at bay and keep them from eating the leaves. This type of repellent is safe to use on edible plants and can be used every time you water them. Once it rains, you will have to reapply the soapy water to deter the insects again as the rain will wash the soap residue away.
Many herbs make a natural insect repellent. Plant the herbs as part of your garden. This not only adds to the look of your garden but also keeps you from having to do any extra work of spraying the leaves of your plants on a regular basis. You can also make a liquid insect repellent using an herb called lemon grass. Purchase, or pick from your home-grown plant, ½ cup of the leaves. Crush up the leaves and then put them at the bottom of a spray bottle. Cover the leaves with rubbing alcohol and let the mixture sit overnight. Spray this herbal mixture on your plants about once a week or after it rains.
Oil is another good way to keep insects from munching on the leaves of your plants. It is also readily available at a good price. Mix 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil and 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap into a spray bottle. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Swirl the bottle to mix the ingredients without making the soap bubble up. Spray on the leaves of your plants to keep insects from eating them.
Garlic is pungent enough to keep insects from eating your plants. For this repellent you will need an entire head of garlic. Chop up the garlic finely and cover it with 1 cup of vegetable oil in a closed container. Allow the garlic mixture to sit in the fridge for at least two days. You are looking for the oil to pick up a very strong garlic smell. Strain the oil to remove all the bits of garlic. Into a spray bottle add 1 tbsp. of the oil, 2 tsp. of liquid soap and 3 cups of water. Stir gently and spray on your plants as soon as you notice insect problems. Spray before insect problems if you know you normally have trouble at certain times of the year.