Homebrewed Antidotes and Anecdotes

This article is a short collection of bits and pieces I thought I would put together in one place.

Fertilizer and compost have some nice companions that can be harvested from your garden. Comfrey foliage makes terrific fertilizer. And the leaves of yarrow, valerian, chamomile, and borage speed up decomposition of compost and add enormous nutrient quality to the pile.

Nettles and yarrow increase the essential oils in other herbs whether interplanted or rendered into tea and used as a spray.

Wood ashes and agricultural lime make good dust. Seed potatoes can be dusted with sulfur. Diatomaceous Earth is excellent but caution really must taken when using it. It is composed of fossilized, microscopic shells and can be dangerous to your lungs.

The following list can be brewed up as tea and replaces those toxic insecticides destroying our bees, beneficial insects, and birds, as well as our air, water, and food.

The entire Allium family that includes garlic, onions, chives, and so forth are fungicides and do well treating dusty mildew and other moldy problems. That same Allium spray, especially garlic, works well against aphids, white flies, and root maggots. CAUTION: Do not use Allium spray on your peas and beans; it is an antagonist to them.

Coriander treats spider mites. Anise treats aphids and cabbageworms. These two should be sown together. They are great companions to each other.

Catnip treats aphids, squash bugs, and many other offending beetles.

Santolina treats wireworms.

Savory treats Mexican bean beetles.

Tansy treats aphids, cabbageworms, squash bugs, and many beetles. Mint treats aphids, cabbage moths, potato beetles, flea beetles, and ants. Both of these should be grown next to your doorway to keep critters out of the house. They can be dried and sprinkled around too.

Thyme treats cabbageworms and white flies.

Hot pepper treats viruses, ants, mites, caterpillars, cabbageworms and hornworms. The flakes can be sprinkled under your plants as well.

Wormwood treats slugs and aphids.

Chamomile treats dusty mildew and damping off.


One way to make spray is to grind up the repellent herb in your blender with a little water. Soak the mash in mineral oil for a few days then add a generous amount of water and filter out the particles. Various home products can be added to the tea. Up to 3 Tablespoons of non-detergent soap and 4 Tablespoons of alcohol can be added. Please note that soap can be injurious to plants and might require rinsing after a few hours. Safer’s Soap is a good substitute should you not want to risk using liquid soap.

The controversy over tobacco spray continues to rage and to my knowledge, you can’t use it if you maintain an organic certification and sell your produce in the market place. But honestly, I don’t know why provided certified organic tobacco is used. Kentucky Select offers organic pipe tobacco. And you know what, tobacco is easy to grow and gorgeous in the garden. The decision rests in your hands. But note that tobacco spray is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It treats fruit tree borers, aphids, mites, cabbageworms and other caterpillars that eat your garden.

Ultimately, I would say that if you interplant and grow a wide variety of these herbs, your produce and flowers will thrive; so will bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects. Chances are you won’t need to spray at all. For years I have interplanted so many herbs and flowers in my garden I have never needed to spray for anything other than a few aphids. In that case the quick fix was a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle.

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