Using Garlic as a Natural Pesticide

Garlic harvested and fresh from the garden.
What You'll Need
Garlic bulbs
Potash-based dish soap
Garlic press
Fine clothes
Spray bottle

Garlic makes an excellent economical, non-toxic pesticide for the garden. It has natural fungicidal and pesticidal properties that work effectively to control pests. For maximum efficacy in pest control, avoid using any chemical fertilizers. Fertilizers diminish the capacity of vital ingredients in garlic to fight pests. Aphids, ants, termites, white flies, beetles, borers, caterpillars, slugs, and army worms are some of the pests that can be suitably controlled using garlic.

TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson adds, "Healthy soil will draw beneficial insects and work in combination with garlic to repel the bad insects. Keep your soil healthy by using plenty of organic matter, allowing adequate drainage and keeping the garden weed free."

Garlic Spray

Obtain five medium-sized garlic bulbs. Extract the cloves and remove the outer skin. Use a garlic press to crush to very small bits. Alternatively, crush using a mortar and pestle. Mix with 1/2-liter of water. Allow the mixture to soak for at least six hours. Add in some dish washing soap. It is best to use a potash-based soap, as one that is too caustic will harm the plants. Use a fine cloth to strain the mixture. Place in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. When ready to use, dilute the mixture in 4 liters of water. It is best to use it immediately after preparation. When stored for a long time, it loses its potency.

For easy application, place the desired amount in a spray bottle. Spray the plant parts once a week to give protection against insects. If rains are present, you need to spray twice a week. Of course, garlic has an extremely strong taste. Once sprayed, the taste will remain on the plant for about a month. It is a good idea not to spray too close to harvesting time, as it may interfere with food flavors.

Also, garlic is a broad-spectrum pesticide, so be careful to spray only the plant parts that are infested. This will help minimize destruction of beneficial insects.

Garlic Drench

You can effectively control nematodes using garlic tea as a soil drench. It will be absorbed by the plant roots and repel Japanese beetles, codling moths, carrot flies and root maggots. It also kills slugs and snails. It is very effective in keeping away deer and rabbits from flowers in the garden. Although effective, the drench is also likely to destroy beneficial, as well as harmful insects and soil bacteria.

Inter-Cropping With Garlic

This involves growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same site. The benefit of using garlic in mixed cropping is that it effectively repels harmful pests while retaining beneficial ones. If you grow tomatoes, plant some garlic to prevent red spider mites from attacking your crop. Plant garlic around your apple or peach trees to repel fruit borers. Plant garlic if you have cabbages to reduce infestations by the diamond back moth. If planted near roses, it repels aphids which frequently attack the plant.

Garlic does not seem to have a beneficial effect when planted with legumes, peas, and potatoes. Avoid planting next to these crops.

TIP: Susan recommends, "Plant garlic in the fall for best results."

All-natural is always the best option, especially when it comes to fruit and vegetable gardens. This guide for using garlic as a pesticide will help you do just that!