I’ve been reading articles about insect and critter control (rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks) on the Internet, through several blog sites and on Pinterest. Many of the recipes for organic solutions look perfect for my needs. Here is the catch though, I have concocted a few of these in the past, and they are very easy to mix, but are notoriously hard to strain fine enough to pass through the nozzle of a spray bottle.
I am still determined to fight pests through this route, so…I gathered all my ingredients together: Chiles de Arbol, Garlic, Onion and Ivory Soap. I took great care with the chiles, these can cause great pain if your rub your eyes after handling. If this happens, flush your eyes with cool water until you feel relief. It’s a good idea to use disposable gloves when you handle chiles. Or you can do as I did and wash your hands everytime you touch the chiles or any item they have come in contact with while you have been concocting your potion.
I put the chiles in a bowl, sliced the onions fine, crushed the garlic cloves, and then using my vegetable peeler shaved off thin curls of Ivory soap. I also decided pure lavender essential oil wouldn’t hurt, so I added just a few drops. Lavender is a repulsive odor to many insects and animals.
The next step was to boil water and cover the ingredients, I let them steep for an hour.
When the hour was up I carefully poured this concoction into the blender I reserve for crafts, and whirled it around until all the ingredients were incorporated. I skimmed the inch high layer of bubbly goo off the top, poured the solution into a holding container and let sit for twenty-four hours.
The next day I strained this liquid through a wire mesh strainer. Be prepared to complete this step in small batches at a time. The resultant mash that was left over was very unappetizing looking and very potent in smell. I didn’t want to waste this and had a brilliant idea. Why not twirl the coffee filter edges together and make a bug bomb out of the mash. PERFECT! At this point I completely forgot my initial idea of the spray, rushed the bomb outside and pushed it through the chicken wire enclosing my square foot garden. Aha! This had to be a perfect idea to keep four legged critters away from my vegetables.
Yes, it looks hideously ugly, but if it works…oh Happy Day! I’ve had too many plants nipped off to the ground to worry about a little bit of ugliness.
After this small detour, I was back on track. I strained the liquid once again through a coffee filter. You can use a funnel with a filter for this step, or your coffee filter basket set over a container. I now have a quart sized mason jar of this potion that will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks. I will try it on a few of my seedlings to make sure it does no harm and then spray periodically throughout the growing season.
Best of all, I found this very economical to make at under $2.00. Many of items I used I always have on hand in my pantry or linen closet. The only roadblocks I encountered making this spray was spilling the potion all over the garage floor. Oh my…the smell. It sank into the concrete and will take time to wear away. This was an easy project, but remember, wash, wash, wash your hands.