Our garden seems to be constantly under attack from one creature or another. Whilst I don’t mind sharing, if we did nothing to protect our plants there would be nothing left for us to eat! One of the key homemade recipes in my garden defence arsenal is a simple homemade Chilli and Garlic Spray. It’s a great deterrent for sucking insects and caterpillars. Once or twice a week I spray the plants in the kitchen garden that are particularly susceptible to caterpillar attack and the new growth on my young citrus trees which become covered in Orchard Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars each year.
How to make Chilli and Garlic Spray
- 8 + chillis (Some experimentation may be required to determine the appropriate quantity of chillis depending on variety used. If the spray is too hot the mixture can burn plant leaves)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons potassium based liquid soap (do not use soap that is made from caustic soda as this can harm plants).
- 1 litre boiling water
- 1 litre jar or other suitable container
- 1 old spray bottle
- Garlic press (or simply chop finely and crush)
Step 1. Finely chop each chilli and place with seeds in a litre jar or other suitable container.
2. Add Garlic to the chilli using a garlic press.
3. Add 2 tablesoons of potassium hydroxide based liquid soap (e.g. liquid castille)
Step 4. Pour in a litre of boiling water
Step 5. Shake the jar until the mixture is fully combined, then leave for 24 hours to infuse.
Step 6. Strain the mixture and retain the liquid.
Step 7. Pour into old squirty bottle
Step 8. Spray directly onto plants under attack, ensuring the undersides of the leaves are also coated. It is best to spray in the early morning or evening to avoid scorching the leaves of the plants you are trying to protect. Use once or twice a week or more often if it rains.
If you do not want to continually spray your plants, an alternative low-maintenance pest solution is to intercrop particularly susceptible vegetation with chilli plants.