ISSUE 78  |  Dry Gardens

DIY: The Best Garden Insecticide (and No Harmful Chemicals)

June 25, 2013 7:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

To repel spiders, aphids, and other insect pests in the garden, my neighbor Bea douses plants with an all-natural insecticide she makes with Castile soap. It’s a genius recipe.

Made with olive oil, Castile soap’s history goes back more than a thousand years; the Crusaders are thought to have introduced it to Europe as early as the 11th century.  You can use it to wash dishes, to launder clothes, to clean the house–and as an all-natural insecticide in the garden. Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home, shares her recipe:

Above: A bottle of Castile soap on Bea Johnson’s windowsill.

Ingredients and Materials:

Add 1/4 cup Castile soap to one gallon of water. Mix and pour into a reusable glass spray bottle.

For more of Bea’s mindful gardening tips, see Ask the Expert: 10 Tips for a Simplified Garden, to Grow More With Less.


Above: The Ultimate Glass Spray Bottle is $8.39 from Olive Cart. 

Spray leaves of affected plants with the mixture; allow to dry.

For more all-natural insect repellents, see DIY: Bug Repellent Balm.