On this beautiful Friday morning, I started out in the garden, such as it is, so early in the season. Nonetheless, it got me thinking about preparing for the onslaught of the season ahead and preparing my various potions for plant growth and pest control.

I prefer to minimize, if not eliminate, the use of harsh chemical preparations as much as possible so I have a couple of favorite concoctions I’ll share with you today. One is for feeding the plants in the garden and one is for pest control. Both of these ‘recipes’ were shared with me by my mom, may she rest in peace, although I have seen similar recipes on Pinterest and other sites.

garden tools

D-I-Y Garden Plant Food

1 tsp Epsom salts

4 cups warm water

Spray on plant leaves every 10 days.


2 Tbsp Epsom salts

1 gallon warm water

Substitute for regular watering once a month.


When you are planting your new plants in the garden, put a teaspoon of Epsom salts into the bottom of the planting hole along with the new plant. Mix it into the loose soil at the bottom of the hole before inserting the new plant. I find it gives the new transplants a bit of a boost as they’re establishing themselves in the garden. Of course, be sure to water-in the transplants well to activate the salts.

garden tools

D-I-Y Garden Bug Spray

This doesn’t repel pests so much as it kills insects such as aphids and squash beetles that are already on the plants. I find companion planting does most of my work as far as repelling the majority of the pests – we’ll get into that on another day.

10 oz. rubbing alcohol

2 Tbsp dishwashing liquid

14-16 oz. spray bottle

Mix alcohol and dishwashing liquid in spray bottle. Fill bottle to capacity with water.

Spray plant leaves and stems in the early morning or in the evening (so alcohol and water have time to evaporate before full sun hits the plants). Remember to spray the undersides of leaves too. Repeat as needed.

These are simple concoctions that have worked well for me. I have had multiple pets and children in and out of the garden throughout the years and have always felt comfortable about their being around these ‘potions.’ I hope you achieve acceptable results if you choose to give them a test run.

Enjoy your weekend!

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