Hot Pepper Spray

I sometimes need to spray my herbs and vegetables to combat pests, but I’m not comfortable using a pesticide on plants that my family and I eat. What is a safe alternative?

I can understand your concern and one product I like to use is hot-pepper spray. This product combines paraffin wax and other ingredients with capsaicin, a chemical naturally found in peppers that makes them hot. When sprayed directly on plants and foliage, the wax lightly coats it and holds the hot spray in place. I find this to be an effective and organic way of dealing with certain pests in the garden, like leafhoppers, spider mites, and whiteflies, just to name a few.

When you use this product, you certainly want to keep it away from children, and you don’t want to get any of it in your eyes because it can really burn. But don’t be afraid to spray it directly on the produce in your garden. You see, it washes off with just a little warm water.

Hot pepper spray is available from many organic garden supply companies such as Gardeners Supply Company and Gardens Alive or you can mix your own at home. To make the homemade version, simply puree two large cayenne peppers in a blender or food processor. Strain the puree to remove any seeds or solids. Add the strained puree to 1 gallon of water. When you are ready to spray, dilute 1/4 cup of the hot pepper concentrate with 1 gallon of water. Instead of paraffin, to help the spray adhere to the leaves add about 1/4 tablespoon of dishwashing soap. When working with hot peppers it is important to wear gloves and keep your hands away from your face and eyes.