One of the best ways to protect your annuals, perennials and shrubs naturally from both insect and animal attacks is by making and using your very own homemade hot pepper and garlic spray.
Whether it’s keeping rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and deer from feasting on your flowers and vegetables, or aphids from attacking your roses, hot pepper and garlic spray can help keep pests away. And best of all, without having to resort to harsh chemical sprays!
Not only is it easy to make at home, it also happens to be quite inexpensive to create and use. Especially if you happen to have your own supply of hot peppers and garlic on hand.
Keeping Pests Away Naturally
Although proper fencing will help to stop most animals, it can be costly to install. And unless you are going to net every square inch of your planting space with fine mesh, insects can still find a way to your plants as well.
That is exactly where hot pepper and garlic spray can come to the rescue. Both have pest repelling qualities that work naturally to keep insects and animals away.
We have been using the repelling power of hot peppers for years to help protect our garden and flowerbeds. Not just with our spray, but by planting them strategically throughout our garden and bed spaces.
Planting & Spraying With Hot Peppers…
Each year, we plant our favorite hot pepper plants on the outer rows of the garden as a barrier. We also space and plant a few ornamental hot peppers throughout our flowerbeds as well.
Why? Because not only do they provide incredible color to the garden and flowerbeds, they also help protect the plants that grow around them!
Without fail, each year, we see a few small nibbles early on a few of our hot pepper plants. Sometimes, they even take a small test bit of the peppers. And then magically, it stops. Apparently, after a bit of the heat, the animals simply want no part of the heat. In most cases, it also helps keep them from eating other nearby plants as well.
It is that same heat that when soaked into a liquid and sprayed on the foliage of plants that helps to protect them as well. And when you add in the repelling qualities of garlic to the mix, the spray is even more effective.
How To Make Homemade Hot Pepper And Garlic Spray
We have always found it easiest to mix up our spray one gallon at a time. Old milk jugs make for the perfect holding vessel. They can be easily capped and stored safely out of the way when not in use.
Remember that once made, the solution is quite hot, and can burn the skin and eyes if it comes in contact with them. For this reason, always keep stored safely from children and pets. Once mixed, the solution will stay potent for up to two to three months without worry.
The recipe below creates a single gallon of spray mix. It can, however, be easily adjusted to make more or less by adjusting the amount of peppers and garlic. Simply adjust the ingredients in equal proportions as you go.
Selecting Your Hot Peppers
When it comes to what variety of hot pepper to use, the sky really is the limit. We have had success using everything from cayenne peppers, to jalapeno, seranno and even our 5 Color Chinese hot peppers. One thing is for sure, the hotter the better when it comes to deterring pests!
We are often asked if it is better to use fresh or dried peppers for the mix. The answer is that both seem to work equally well at soaking into the water to create a potent mix.
We prefer using fresh when we have them on hand simply because they are usually quite plentiful – and free. The ratios are a bit different for using pepper flakes to whole peppers. We have included the amounts needed below for whichever you choose.
As for the garlic, it is best to stick with fresh garlic in clove form. Although you can purchase garlic powder, we have never found it to be as potent or effective.
Hot Pepper / Garlic Spray Recipe
- 1 gallon of water
- 10 to 12 hot peppers chopped fine or 5 tablespoons of hot pepper flakes (cayenne works well for dry)
- 10 individual cloves of garlic, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
Begin by adding the peppers, garlic and water into a large pan and bring up to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, occasionally stirring the mixture. If you are using hot pepper flakes, you can heat them for a few minutes dry in a pan to help release the oil before adding to the water mix.
Heating the liquid helps to release and infuse the oils from the hot peppers and the garlic into the water. Let the mixture cool and allow to sit and marinate at room temperature for 24 hours.
Next, strain the peppers and garlic out from the mix and place the liquid into a gallon jug or a container that can be sealed. Add in the teaspoon of olive oil and stir or shake to help disperse the oil through the mixture.
This olive oil helps the mixture stick to the plants when sprayed. You can also use a few drops of mild dish detergent or vegetable oil in place of the olive oil if you prefer.
Applying The Mixture
You are now ready to use your hot pepper / garlic spray! The best way to cover the foliage of plants for protection is with a fine mist from a sprayer.
You can use a hand held spray bottle for small areas, or a larger pump-style sprayer when covering bigger areas. We love using a hand pump pressure sprayer because it produces a super-fine mist that coats leaves using far less solution. Product Link : Hand Pump Pressure Sprayer
It is best to apply the solution in the early morning or late evening when the sun is not beating down on the plants. Applying the liquid during the heat of the day can burn foliage with the moisture and sun’s rays.
With hot pepper and garlic spray, it is important to reapply after any rain or watering of the plants. Once the solution has been washed off the foliage, it will lose its effectiveness. It is best to reapply every 3 to 5 days even without rain to keep the potency high.
Protect Your Eyes & Skin…
Just as when making the solution, gloves and proper protective gear should be worn to protect skin and eyes from the spray. One final note, if using are using the spray to protect vegetables that will be picked within a day or two, be sure to rinse off any of the hot pepper residue before consuming.
Here’s to adding a little spice to your landscape, and to keeping pests away with an all natural approach! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
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