A list of Homemade Organic Pesticides

Ever wonder what farmers did hundreds of years ago to fight off crop pests? Long before the invention of harmful chemical pesticides (yes, the kind that is linked to cancerous cellular activity), farmers and householders came up with multiple remedies for removing insect infestations from their garden plants.

The following list will offer some of our favourite, all-natural, inexpensive, organic methods for making bug-busting pesticides for your home garden.

1. Neem

Ancient Indians highly revered neem oil as a powerful, all-natural plant for warding off pests. Neem juice is even one the most powerful natural pesticides on the planet, holding over 50 natural insecticides. You can use this extremely bitter tree leaf to make a natural pesticide spray.

To make neem oil spray, add half an ounce of high-quality organic neem oil and half a teaspoon of a mild organic liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronners Peppermint) to two quarts of warm water. Stir slowly. Add to a spray bottle and use immediately.

2. Salt Spray

For treating plants infested with spider mites, mix two tablespoons of Himalayan Crystal Salt into one gallon of warm water and spray on infected areas.

3. Mineral Oil

Mix 10-30 ml of high-grade oil with one liter of water. Stir and add to spray bottle. This organic pesticide works well for dehydrating insects and their eggs.

4. Citrus Oil & Cayenne Pepper

This organic pesticide works well on ants. Mix ten drops of citrus essential oil with one teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 cup of warm water. Shake well and spray on the affected areas.

5. Soap, Orange Citrus Oil, & Water

To make this natural pesticide, simply mix three tablespoons of liquid Organic Castile soap with 1 ounce of Orange oil to one gallon of water. Shake well. This is an especially effective treatment against slugs and can be sprayed directly on ants and roaches.

6. Eucalyptus Oil

A great natural pesticide for flies and wasps. Simply sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus oil where the insects are found. They will all be gone before you know it.

7. Onion & Garlic Spray

Mince one organic clove of garlic and one medium-sized organic onion. Add to a quart of water. Wait one hour and then add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one tablespoon of liquid soap to the mix. This organic spray will hold its potency for one week if stored in the refrigerator.

8. Chrysanthemum Flower Tea

These flowers hold a powerful plant chemical component called pyrethrum. This substance invades the nervous system of insects, rendering them immobile. You can make your own spray by boiling 100 grams of dried flowers into 1 litre of water. Boil dried flowers in water for twenty minutes. Strain, cool, and pour into a spray bottle. Can be stored for up to two months. You can also add some organic neem oil to enhance the effectiveness.

9. Chile Pepper & Diatomaceous Earth

Grind two handfuls of dry chillies into a fine powder and mix with one cup of diatomaceous earth. Add to two litres of water and let sit overnight. Shake well before applying.

If you know some easy recipes for making your own organic pesticides, we would love to hear them.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

Written by Dr. Edward Group

Caring for your Succulents

Zones
HARDY SUCCULENTS are hardy zone 3-9 unless otherwise labeled. Plants shipped in early spring are dormant. They will appear dull in color and have some dry edges. This is normal and when placed in sunlight they will intensify in color. Sempervivums change color with the seasons and each variety has its own most colorful time of the year.

Light
Most varieties need at least half a day to a full day of sunlight. In extremely hot areas some afternoon shade is recommended.

Planting
Remove plants from their pots and plant making sure the soil level remains the same depth on the plant. Once established, your succulents will benefit from a layer of pebbles or pea gravel spread on the soil around the plant. This is also very decorative.

Soil
Succulents need good draining soil. When planting in the garden, make sure the area drains well and is not in a low spot that would stay wet. For container planting you can purchase cactus soil or incorporate sand, gravel or volcanic rock for better drainage. The container you are planting in should have a drainage hole or put crushed rock on the bottom before your planting medium.

Watering
After planting, water in well and allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Succulents don’t like to have wet feet. When you do water, water thoroughly.

Fertilizer
Most succulents need very little fertilizer. Watering with a well balanced fertilizer once a month will be all they need.

Flowering
Sedum all have different bloom times and colors ranging from pink, red and yellow. Sempervivums will bloom after the second or third year. A flower stalk will shoot up from the center of the main rosette with a cluster of flowers. After the flower dies, gently twist off the stalk. The main rosette has put on new offsets that will fill in.

Uses
The planting possibilities using succulents are endless. The different colors, textures and habits make the most interesting containers and troughs. Succulents make beautiful rock garden plants. With a wide variety of bloom times there is always something with color.

Herbal Medicine – Guideline

H

By Christopher Hobbs

To maintain your health and combat common conditions, try herbal remedies as an alternate to pharmaceutical drugs. To protect rare herbs, check out some easy substitutions for these endangered plants. Use a handy guide for herbal alternatives for common medications and, depending on the type of herbal remedy you’re taking, follow a recommended dosage guide.

HERBAL REMEDIES FOR COMMON CONDITIONS

If you’re looking for an alternative to over-the-counter or prescription drugs for some common conditions that eventually affect everyone, try these herbal remedies to ease symptoms and maintain a healthier you:

Symptom or Condition Herbal Remedy
Allergies (hay fever) Nettle herb, eyebright, cayenne, garlic, horseradish
Arthritis pain Meadowsweet, ginger, cayenne, black cohosh, yucca, devil’s
claw
Bladder infections (cystitis) Cranberry juice, marshmallow root, pipsissewa, uva-ursi,
echinacea, usnea
Burns, scrapes, rashes, bites Calendula cream, chamomile cream, St. John’s wort oil
Colds Cayenne, garlic, ginger, osha, sage, yerba mansa, elder flowers
and berries
Congestion, sinus Cayenne, horseradish, eyebright, eucalyptus, ma huang
Coughs Sage leaf, loquat leaf, licorice root, wild cherry bark,
marshmallow root
Fatigue American ginseng, red ginseng, rosemary, rehmannia, licorice,
gentian
Gas, intestinal Peppermint, chamomile, cumin seed, caraway seed, fennel
seed
Headaches Feverfew, wood betony, willow bark, meadowsweet
Infections of the skin Echinacea, tea tree oil
Insomnia Valerian, California poppy, chamomile, linden flower, kava
Memory (poor) Ginkgo, rosemary, gotu kola
Nervous tension Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), valerian, California poppy,
passion flower, hops
Sore throat Sage leaf, echinacea, licorice, marshmallow
Stomachache Ginger, peppermint, chamomile, gentian, centaury
Stress Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), California poppy, ligustrum,
ashwaganda, schisandra

A DOSAGE GUIDE FOR HERBAL REMEDIES

The following table gives you information on dosage recommendations for herbal remedies. This chart is to help you make informed choices and is not a substitute for expert medical advice or treatment, since each individual is unique.

Product Dose
Teas 1 cup, 3 to 4 times throughout the day
Powdered herbs 2 to 4 capsules, 2 to 3 times daily
Tinctures 2 to 5 droppersful, 2 to 3 times daily
Standardized extracts 1 tablet, 2 to 3 times daily

SUBSTITUTES FOR RARE AND ENDANGERED HERBS

Interest in herbal medicine has dramatically increased, and along with the destruction of habitat, encroaching development, and commercial overharvesting, some healing herbs have become endangered. You can help these rare plants survive by making some simple substitutions:

Herb How You Can Help
American ginseng Buy cultivated or woods-grown roots or products instead of wild
American ginseng.
Black cohosh Substitute red clover products if you’re using black cohosh for
its estrogenic effects. Substitute kava or cramp bark if using this
herb for muscle spasms. Substitute meadowsweet for arthritis.
Blue cohosh Substitute yarrow.
Echinacea Buy products containing Echinacea purpurea, which are
cultivated organically, instead of wild-harvested E.
angustifolia
. Both are equally effective. E.
angustifolia
 is increasingly available as a cultivated
herb.
Goldenseal Buy cultivated goldenseal or substitute Oregon grape root,
barberry, or the Chinese herb coptis, all of which contain the same
active ingredient, called berberine.
Pipsissewa Use uva ursi and marshmallow root together to soothe and help
reduce bacteria for urinary tract infections.
Slippery elm Substitute marshmallow root, which has similar soothing
properties to slippery elm and is a cultivated herb.
Wild yam Wild yam doesn’t have progesterone-like effects, according to
studies and historical use. Use wild yam only for bowel cramps,
spasms, colic, and nausea, or substitute chamomile flowers.

HERBAL SUBSTITUTES FOR COMMON MEDICATIONS

If you’re looking for an herbal remedy as an alternative for some common medications, take a look at this chart to see what can be substituted. See your doctor or herbalist about persistent, serious conditions.

Medication Herbal Alternative
Pain reliever White willow, meadowsweet
Daytime cold medication Echinacea, goldenseal
Nighttime cold medication Loquat syrup
Stomachache/gas reliever Black walnut, chamomile
Sleep aid Kava, valerian
Anxiety reliever California poppy, kava
Anti-depressant St. John’s wort
Antibiotic Usnea, goldenseal

How and When to Prune

WINTER IS THE TIME TO PRUNE, GETTING RID OF DEAD WOOD AND MAKING WAY FOR SUMMER’S GROWTH. 

Follow these pointers to set the stage for beautiful blooms on a well-shaped plant.

DECIDUOUS AND FRUIT TREES

Leave until July when they are at their most dormant. Remove dead or diseased branches first. Open up the centre of fruit trees to let in light to ripen fruit. Take care not to cut too close to growing buds or to damage the plump fruit buds. Seal large cuts and spray with lime sulphur afterwards to stop disease from getting into the open wounds.

CITRUS

These trees don’t require much pruning. Cut out dead and diseased branches and thin out if necessary.

HEDGES

Trim and shape after they have flowered.

ROSES

Don’t prune early bloomers such as banksia roses and dog roses until after they have flowered in October. Burn all diseased and pest-infected prunings.

Download our handy infographic for the right way and the wrong way to prune roses. 

TOOLS FOR THE JOB

Before starting, make sure your secateurs, loppers and saw are sharp. Clean them regularly so that diseases are not transmitted from one plant to the next – wipe the blades with a little vinegar or bleach in between pruning each plant.

SHRUBS

In June, trim summer and autumn flowering shrubs such as solanum, duranta, hibiscus, abelia, barleria, ribbon bush, sagewood and tecoma. Aim for a tidy shape. Select good pieces for hardwood cuttings as you go and pot them up to give as gifts to friends.

STANDARDS

Remove any sprouting buds and suckers from the trunk and root. Prune to keep the crown symmetrical and the branches radiating out evenly. Aim to cut the main stems back by half their length to a strong, outward pointing bud.

CLIMBERS

Cut back long lateral branches of granadillas to 60cm to promote new growth and fruiting.

Info from Builders.co.za

How, Why and When to Compost your Garden

Compost can be confusing. We all know it’s “good”, but good how? And when should we use it? Do we even need to use it? Here is a short good-to-know guide for when and why to add compost to your garden. Compost is an efficient and practical fertilizer. Composed of decayed organic matter, compost is a basic tool for the organic gardener. Brown leaves, compostable materials like cardboard and newspaper, grass clippings, food scraps, twigs and more can all be broken down into compost. Compost is created through the process of thermal decay and then added as humus to the garden. Compost is home to millions of active microorganisms which help to continue breaking down organic matter into bio-available nutrients – food for plants!

Quite simply, compost adds nitrogen to a garden. Nitrogen is what contributes to a plants healthy, green growth.

WHAT CONDITION IS THE COMPOST IN?

No two compost heaps, piles or bags are created equal, so the first question to ask about compost is – what condition is it in? Newer compost needs more time to break down, which keeps all those beneficial microorganisms busy decomposing. Essentially, this ‘ties up’ nitrogen as it’s being used by microorganisms to digest high carbon material, as opposed to being readily available for plants.

With older compost – that which has been more thoroughly broken down – the material has more nutrients readily available to plants.

Either way, it’s good to note that, once applied, all compost will continue the natural process of breaking down and decaying into rich, nutrient-dense soil. And remember, as microorganisms break down compost, nutrients are released and made into fertilizer available for plants.

WHEN TO ADD COMPOST TO A GARDEN

With homemade, fully decomposed compost, the nutrients are more readily available to plants and can be added onto just-planted garden beds or soon-to-be-planted garden beds. For many urban growers, bagged compost is what is easy and available. If you’re using bagged compost, add in layers about 1 to 2 inches thick in early spring. Now (early March) is a great time. Dig in lightly with a bow rake, and leave the compost to rest a week or two before you plant seeds or starts.

When using homemade compost or if compost is thick with green matter and fibrous, add to garden beds in autumn. (You should also allow chicken manure some time to cure and age before seeding or planting directly.) The compost will be mostly decomposed by spring and beds should ready for planting. With backyard compost, get into the practice of adding 2-3 inches of new/fresh compost in the autumn (in lieu of cover crop) so that the compost can decompose over winter and into early spring.

CREATING BEDS FOR THE FIRST TIME

If this is the first time you’ll plant in a portion of your yard, take extra time and effort to double dig in compost. Double digging contributes to a lighter, loamy soil and once you do it, you’ll never have to do it again. It can be back breaking work if you’re in a large space, but for most urban gardens you can get it done. 

ADDING COMPOST TO EXISTING GARDENS

With crops that have over-wintered, or when applying compost well into the garden season, practice a technique called “side dressing”. Apply a layer of compost a few inches away from the plants, protecting delicate plant stems from active microorganisms. In this way, the compost is applied as a mulch and so it reaps multiple rewards; It offers nutrients to plants mid-cycle, will discourage weed growth, and it will retain water – a benefit of side dressing in summer. Multi-purpose compost!

How to successfully grow Tomatoes

Tomatoes need sun and soil rich in organic matter. Grow from seed or plant seedlings 30-45cm apart. Seedlings are best planted deep in the soil with the top four leaves just above the surface. This helps develop a strong root system. A layer of mulch will keep the soil cool, conserve moisture and discourage weeds. Water the root area thoroughly and regularly, avoiding water on leaves. Fertilise with a specially formulated tomato fertiliser according to instructions or a fertiliser granules for vegetable gardens. For the best flavour, allow tomatoes to ripen on the vine. 

There are two types of tomato plants – bush varieties and trellis varieties. Bush varieties should be staked or grown in a cage, and as the plant grows, tied to the support with soft string. Bush varieties include ‘Floridade’ which has been bred to withstand high temperatures, ‘Heinz’ which has flat and round fruit, ‘Oxheart’ extra large fruit and ‘Roma’ with its recognisably oblong fruit. 

Tomato varieties better suited to a trellis or wigwam, include the popular ‘Moneymaker’, which has medium size flavourful fruit borne on heavy trusses.  ‘Brandywine’ is a popular heirloom variety which dates back to the late 1800s with large reddish-pink fruits, rich in flavour. 

Cherry tomatoes produce small fruit, ideal for salads. Seed sown in spring and summer will germinate in 7 to 14 days and harvesting begins in 70 to 80 days. Cherry tomatoes can also be grown in large pots and trained on a wigwam or trellis. Nip off the growing point when it has reached the desired height.

‘Cherry Yellow Pear’ are small heirloom tomatoes borne in clusters and can be grown in pots, hanging baskets or up a trellis. ‘Bite Size’ has small round red fruit, and ‘Sweet’ cherry tomato is ideal for growing in pots.S