Garden plants are prone to all sorts of pests. Because you will be eating the fruits and vegetables produced by your garden, you should avoid treating them with harsh chemicals. Following a few simple recipes with some household items will help keep your garden plants safe from pests and your produce ready to eat.
Dawn Liquid Detergent
A solution of Dawn liquid detergent and water works as a safe, effective homemade insecticidal soap recipe. Use about 1 1/2 tsp. of Dawn per 1 quart water. This formula works best after the plant has been cleaned. Take a strong spraying water bottle and spray the plant with water. Soak the undersides of leaves as well as the fruit or vegetable. Fill another spray bottle with the Dawn and water mixture and spray the plant, concentrating on the leafy areas and stem. You can lightly spray the fruit but avoid any spraying on days that are windy, humid or extremely hot. You may want to test a small section of this recipe on your plant's leaf just to be sure that type of plant does not find the mixture toxic. After the solution is applied, it should remove and prevent leafhoppers, aphids, whiteflies and mites. It has very low if any toxicity and should not harm your pets if they come into contact with it or accidentally ingest it.
Generic isopropyl alcohol mixed with the Dawn liquid detergent and water solution will attack and kill scales. The alcohol mixture seeps into the skin of adult scales and kills them soon after contact. You can add 1 cup alcohol to the 1 quart water with the 1 1/2 tsp. Dawn. This recipe works well for indoor and outdoor plants. Apply it to the top and bottom of leaves every three days for no longer than two weeks. When you treat indoor plants with this mixture, bring the plant outdoors to avoid spraying household items.
If you have plants that you need to bring indoors in the winter, change the alcohol solution to 3 Tbsp. isopropyl alcohol, 1 tsp. Dawn and 1 quart warm water. Combine the liquids into a large spray bottle and spray the top and bottom of all leaves. Allow the solution to sit for three minutes and thoroughly wipe each leaf clean with a wet cloth. Let the plant sit outdoors to dry before bringing it inside for the winter.