meshmouse
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Location: Long Island NY USA zone7a

All in One? Pesticide, Fungicide, Insecticide, Fertilizer

From what I understand, most pests (from aphids to deer), don't like hot pepper and garlic. Molds, mildews, fungus and blights don't like baking soda and often epsom salts. Aerated compost tea microbes not only feed the soil and the plant, but are also anti-fungal. Soap and oil do in soft bodied insects and help with the application of the other components.

So, if I make my garlic, hot pepper concoction and my aerated compost tea, add 1 TB baking soda, 1 TB epsom salts, 1/4 cup veg oil and 1 ts simple dish soap per gal of mix and I put it all in my sprayer and soak the plants in the morning, particularly after a rain, will it all be good?

Do I have all these things right? Is it OK to apply them all together, all at once, once a week, or as needed?

I'm thinking the microbes in the ACT might be harmed by some of the other components. If they need to be seperate, how so? Which ones can go together? Of course, I'm trying to condense my efforts, but obviously, only if it is helpful.

Thanks in advance.

meshmouse

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rainbowgardener
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Re: All in One? Pesticide, Fungicide, Insecticide, Fertilize

I think you are right that the microbial life of the ACT would not survive the other components of your mix. But your garlic/ pepper spray comes close to being all those things (except fertilizer) all by itself. Garlic has fungicidal properties. I have used garlic pepper spray. I think it helps as insect repellent even when not sprayed directly on the insects and it may be insecticidal for soft bodied insects like aphids. I can testify that I have sprayed the stuff directly on squash bugs (which are hard shelled) and it didn't seem to bother them very much. But then again, nothing much does.

But I don't recommend broadcast spraying of anything over your whole garden or without regard to what pests you are trying to treat. We think of the garlic-pepper spray as safe and natural, because the ingredients are in our kitchens. But it is harmful to beneficial insects as well and can kill honeybees if sprayed on them. You should only spray it very early in the morning or at dusk after the bees have gone home, or else spot spray it on an area where the problem is when you can see that there are no bees there.

I don't use very much in my garden these days except diatomaceous earth, which is effective against slugs and crawling things including perhaps the squash bugs, but does not bother flyers when put around the base of plants. It is recommended to use anti-fungals preventatively, but I don't like to do that, so tend to wait until I see the first signs of fungus and then treat only the affected plants. Just trying to minimize harm and disruptions to the system.

I do use ACT sometimes (and probably should do more), but I don't use it in conjunction with other stuff and have tended to use it more as soil drench than foliar spray.

Not saying any this is "right," just sharing what I do in my garden. Maybe others can answer your questions more specifically and share what they do.
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meshmouse
Senior Member
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:14 pm
Location: Long Island NY USA zone7a

Re: All in One? Pesticide, Fungicide, Insecticide, Fertilize

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.

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