Instead of using store-bought chemicals, organic gardeners take a simpler approach to fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Effective versions of each can be mixed up using ingredients already close at hand and a basic kitchen blender.
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Liquefy two bulbs of garlic and 1-1/2 cups of water to create concentrated garlic tea, a good all-purpose insecticide that makes crops undesirable to pests. Strain any solids out of the mixture and add enough water to make a gallon. Use this concentrate right away, or freeze in 1/4-cup muffin tins to use later.
Garlic tea can be used in conjunction with seaweed fertilizer. Mix 4 Tbsp. seaweed concentrate, 1 Tbsp. vinegar and 1 frozen garlic-tea cube in a gallon sprayer. This can be applied weekly in spring to everything in the garden, then once every two to three weeks in the summer.
Habanero peppers make a good contact insecticide when blended with water. It too can be frozen in concentrate form. It can be added to the seaweed-garlic mixture but should be applied only where an active pest problem is observed.
To cure black spot, mildew or brown patch, make an effective fungicide from 4 Tbsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. gentle soap and 1 gallon water. Use sparingly and keep it off the soil, since this blend can affect soil pH.
Other kitchen items can help tomato plants. Aluminum foil wrapped around plant stems and kept above grade at planting deters cutworms. Broken eggshells can also be planted with tomato plants; the calcium will help prevent blossom end rot.
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