As the heat increases, so do the attacks on the urban garden by pests. Our most recent challenge has been an infestation of spider mites on the eggplant.
You can identify this pest by the white dappling spreading over the leaves and the furry brown mites and green eggs underneath. While the fire ants have tried to help us combat the situation by eating the eggs, there were more than they could handle alone.
There are pesticides and sprays on the market specifically for mites, but these are often expensive and less than safe to consume should traces be left of your produce. Because we are DIYers, our solution was to remove the mites manually and spray with an organic homemade pesticide to prevent their return.
The removal of the spider mites is quite easy as they are large enough to see and brush from the leaves with a gentle cloth. This addresses the immediate issue of the leaves being eaten. The second step was to apply an organic homemade spray we shared with you here. Our exact recipe is as follows:
2 cups water
1 tbs chili powder or hot pepper scraps and seeds
3 cloves garlic or garlic and onion scraps
2 tbs vinegar
1 tbs dish soap this helps it stick
2 liter bottle or jug
Prepare your bottle by cleaning it thoroughly with a gentle soap and punching one small hole in the lid for targeted application.
Boil the water, chili, and garlic in a small pan until the garlic begins to fall apart. Smash the garlic in the water to release its oil and let cool. Once cool, remove any large pieces.
Add the soap, vinegar, and garlic-chili water to your bottle and finish filling the rest of the bottle with cool water. Mix well.
Apply the solution directly to leaves of affected plants, avoiding flowers and fruit. Reapply as needed and after heavy rains.
Garlic is a natural pest repellent and can be quite strong. Be sure to dilute your solution and avoid flowers so that you do not deter beneficial pollinators like bees.