If you like to know exactly what has gone into your garden protection products, there are several simple remedies to make at home.
Insecticidal Soap Spray
To control aphids, the most natural approach is to have a garden full of aphid predators – such as ladybirds, green and brown lacewings. If you do not have enough of these, create your own insecticidal soap spray. Dilute a tablespoon of liquid soap (ensure it is additive free) in a litre of water and target the aphids using a spray bottle.
Oil Based Insecticide
You could also make an oil-based insecticide by mixing 250ml vegetable or sunflower oil with 25ml fairy liquid or similar. Shake well. When ready to spray, dilute 10ml of this mixture in 1 litre of water and spray using a hand-held spray bottle. For larger infestations, multiply up and use a larger sprayer or knapsack. Spray directly on to the pests – this is effective for aphids, whitefly and other soft-bodied insect pests.
Tomato Leaf Insecticide
If you grow tomatoes, the leaves can be used as an insecticide. When you strip the lower leaves from your plants, which helps the sunlight ripen the fruit, try chopping up enough leaves to fill two large mugs. Put the chopped leaves in a bowl overnight with 1 litre of water. Strain the steeped mixture and use to spray onto garden pests.
Find more inspiration for natural gardening methods and products in our guide to natural gardening.