Thanks rbg -
I knew I could count on you for some sound insight. I think I mis-spoke when I used the word Insecticide. I'm not looking to kill anything, just deter them from eating up my greens. I bought some Neem oil a few years back and it still sits on the shelf, full. The more I read about it, the less inclined I was to use it. I also have 49 lbs left from a 50 lb bag of diatomaceous earth in some 5 gal buckets. I use that sparingly on ant paths in the house (very effective) and on select plants. I put some in an old sock and just sort of bounce it around the base and underside of mostly brassica plant leaves (cabbage worm).
I will definitely keep the ACT seperate. I have had some positive results from some test plants the past two years in preventing blight on tomatos when using it as a foliar spray in conjuction with compost dressings as mulch around plant base. I've had such terrible tomato loss to blight (early and late) that I've almost given up. Also powdery mildew on cukes and beans is a given. So this year, I'm determined to do and try every and anything organically that I can create to control it. I'm definitely going in the preventative mode. I'm not going to wait for the problem to arise, because I know it will. I think equally important is for me to be consistant. ACT foliar spray at least once a week, no matter what. I will also drench (water and feed) with it.
I thought the pepper/garlic conconction was harmless on contact and that the pepper serves as a deterent to bugs that would eat the leaf and that some bugs (mosquitos in particular) are repelled by the smell of garlic as well as it having fungicidal properties.
I will keep the pepper/garlic with baking soda, epsom salts, oil and soap seperate, once a week and stagger the spraying with the ACT spraying. I'm wondering tho, isn't epsom salts magnesium and sulphur and isn't sulphur what is used to acidify soil? Might the baking soda and epsom salts be better used alternatively rather than together, so as not to neutralize each other (ph-wise)?
I am always careful to avoid spraying ladybugs, bees, in fact, anything flying except known pests (japanese beetle, potato beetle, etc). But do you think the oil and soap components can be harmful to beneficials? If so, I could leave it out.
I really just want to see what results I can get with the proper program consistently applied. This is happening in a Community garden setting, so I have little control over what others do or don't do around me (other than organic is required) which is the main reason I'm taking a more aggressive approach.