Household Hazardous Waste

Repel Disease and Pests


Planting marigolds and/or nasturtiums among beans, spinach, tomatoes, and celery will help repel root nematodes and other insects.

Mole Repellant

Mix one tablespoon of castor oil (available at local pharmacies) with 2 tablespoons of liquid soap in a blender until it gets stiff like shaving cream. Then mix in 6 tablespoons of water. Use 2 ounces of this mixture in 2 gallons of water in a watering can, and sprinkle on the lawn. When you buy the castor oil, make sure it is the old fashioned type, not the new, improved de-scented type.

Slug Traps

Small tuna can filled with beer, bury part-way into ground near plants. Slugs slither in to sip and drown.

Aphid Control

Encourage ladybugs! Both adult beetles and larvae have enormous appetites for aphids. Also, control aphid-loving weeds, such as lamb's quarters, in and around gardens.

If only a few plant leaves are affected, either remove the leaves or crush the aphids by rubbing infested leaves between thumb and forefinger. Spreading sheets of aluminum foil around base of plants to reflect sunlight onto the undersides of leaves may discourage winged female aphids from laying eggs. Directing a hard stream or spray of water at plants early in the day will remove many aphids from infested plants.

Aphids are attracted to yellow. Fill bright yellow plastic containers with water to trap and drown large numbers of aphids.

Snails, Catepillars and Aphids

Toss 3 garlic heads and 6 tablespoons mineral oil in blender, mix until smooth. Let mixture stand at room temperature for 48 hours. Add to a solution of 1 pint hot water and 1 tablespoon oil-base soap. Pour into screw top jars and refrigerate. Two tablespoons added to 4 pints (one-half gallon) water makes a potent spray.

Protection from Birds

Fruit vines and berry bushes, drape old sheer curtains over vines and bushes.

Earwig Traps

Roll a dampened newspaper into a tight cylinder. Place near infected plant(s). Should be full of earwigs in a couple days. Crush or burn.

Deer-Repelling Fences

Make a string fence with chunks of Irish Spring soap tied at intervals. This may or may not be effective. Some say the only thing you can do is build an 8-foot high fence.

Insect Garlic Spray

1 garlic bulb, 2 cups water, 1 gallon water
Take an entire garlic bulb and two cups of water and blend in blender. Mix at high speed for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a container and set aside for up to one day. Strain liquid through cheese cloth. Mix liquid with one gallon of water apply liberally on top and bottom of leaves.

Insect Soap Spray

Liquid dish detergent.
Put 1 tablespoon of dish detergent per gallon into a sprayer. Apply liberally on top and bottom of leaves. Re-apply after rain or one to two weeks.

Hot Pepper Spray

6 hot peppers (the hotter the better), 2 cups water, 1 quart water. Put hot peppers and two cups of water into a blender. Mix at high speed for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a container and set aside for up to one day. Strain liquid through a cheese cloth. Pour liquid into a one quart container. Fill container to top with water. Apply liberally to plants. Re-apply every week to two weeks or after a rain.

Fungicide / Powdery Mildew Spray

1 gallon water, 3 tablespoons baking soda, 1 tablespoon bleach, 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid. Snip and remove leaves that are worst affected. Mix ingredients with water. Spray remaining leaves top and undersides. Apply a heavier dose on leaves that have signs of infection and only lightly on unaffected leaves as bleach can harm and discolor the leaves. Extremely important: do not use too much bleach! We hesitate to recommend using bleach as it can harm your plants if too much is applied. Use it at your own risk and try to avoid spraying it on healthy leaves.

Cutworm Removal

To determine if cutworms are present, look for signs of freshly cut plants. Take a flashlight at night to search the base of the plant and the top layer of soil for cutworms. Handpick any cutworms you find and squash them or drown them in a bucket of soapy water. Other methods include controlling weeds in the fall, collaring plants an inch into the soil and 2 inches above, or put diatomaceous earth around the seedling to cut and dehydrate cutworms.

Bug spray for the Gardener

Mix 1/2 teaspoon lemon eucalyptus oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract (Mexican or Madagascar vanilla works best), and 4 ounces rubbing alcohol or witch hazel.  Put mixture in spray bottle and spray on clothes and skin to ward off bugs.