61uZSB7F7lL._SY300_One of the things that comes with gardening is maintenance: bugs, soil quality, sun time, shadow time, fertilizing, pest control, squirrel wars, etc. These elements make gardening feel like a rad science experiment – which I find rather fascinating. Along with a misunderstanding with house sitters, my garden has been having a rough time this summer. Those seedlings that survived what shall now be known as the miscommunication drought of 2013, have become the lunch for some kind of insect.

You Grow Girl blogger and author, Gayla Trail, one of my go to gardening resources, reminds us that getting familiar with bug life is important. Some bugs are good, some bugs not so much, but it’s best to know your pests. I have yet to meet the culprit who has been devouring my lone sunflower and sprawling mint, but I am on the lookout. In the meantime, I’ve been looking for organic solutions and this is the one that I chose – from You Grow Girl. This insecticide is all purpose – which is good for those of us who have yet to solve the bug mystery. Furthermore, unlike this citrus-based insecticide (Smellerific Citrus Peel Spray), the dangers of burning the plants is not a factor. After what these frail babies have been through, I won’t chance them being cooked by my rookie gardner skills.


“Bad Breath Pepper Garlic Spray”



4 cups of boiled water

1 entire bulb of garlic

1 smallish onion

1tbs hot pepper (flakes, powder, or fresh)

thin strainer


spray bottle



  1. Steep all ingredients overnight in the boiling water.
  2. Pour the whole mess into a blender or food processor and liquify.
  3. Strain.
  4. Funnel liquid into a spray bottle.
  5. Thoroughly coat the leaves of the infected plant with the spray. Be sure to get the undersides and other nooks and crannies where bugs will hide.
  6. Store mixture in the fridge.


I used the insecticide on my plants and it seems as though the attacks have stopped. According to You Grow Girl, garlic has a chemical that repels bugs and also acts a fungicide (bonus!). The hot pepper pest repellant property lies in the capsium, which also repels tiny rodents. There are still bugs hanging around my container garden and I suspect it is important to try and spray often. A friend of mine mentioned that she uses lines of cinnamon on top of the soil to repel ants and that she has also used just sticking garlic cloves into the earth. I’ve added the cinnamon trick in combination with the spray. I will probably try to a few other methods as I continue my adventures in balcony gardening. Hope this helps some of you in terms of finding alternatives to toxic/non-organic insecticides.