Sierra Vista Area Gardeners Club

Meeting Schedule


Upcoming Events






Garden Facts

Garden Hints

Garden Quotes

Homemade Concoctions

Recipes from the Garden

Seed Collecting & Storage

USDA Hardiness Zone Info.

Contact Us

Homemade Concoctions

Major ingredients in our tonics and what they contribute:

Ammonia: is a readily available source of nitrogen, which helps to encourage leafy growth. However, it's really potent stuff! To avoid burning your plants, always dilute it as specified in the tonic recipies. It can burn, too, so always handle it with gloves. Never, never combine it with vinegar or bleach! The resulting chemical reaction will release toxic fumes!

Antiseptic Mouthwash: does the same thing in your garden that it does in your mouth; destroys germs.

Baby Shampoo and Liquid Dish Soap: help soften soil and remove dust, dirt and pollution from your plants so that osmosis and photosynthesis can occur more easily. They also make plants taste bad to insects.

Beer: helps release the nutrients that are locked in the soil and helps to make your plants strong and healthy.

Cola: helps feed the good bacteria that condition your soil. be sure you use the real thing; bacteria need sugar.

Epsom Salts: deepen the color, thicken the petals and improves the root structure of your plants.

Oil: Nontoxic smothering agent for insects.

Sugar, Molasses and Corn Syrup: stimulate chlorophyll formation in plants and help feet the good soil bacteria.

Tea: contains tannic acid, which helps plants to digest their food faster and more easily.

Tobacco: poisons bugs when they ingest it or when they simply come into contact with it. It does the same to germs that cause plant diseases.

Urine: from any source; your choice, has a powerful and frightening smell that will send deer and gophers over to your neighbors!

Whiskey: or scotch or bourbon provides nutrients and is a mild disinfectant that will keep bugs away.


Compost Tea: Compost tea is quite easy to make - almost like making a real cup of tea only on a larger scale. Shovel in some compost in an old pillow case or burlap bag. Sink it into a large bucket or barrel of water. Cover the container and just let it steep for a few days. Remember, the longer you steep the stronger it is. You may use this as a light fertilizer to give your plants a little boost. It can also be used as a foliar feeding medium.

Dormant oil spray for Fruit Trees: provide gardeners with an effective and environmentally friendly way to control insects on fruit trees. In addition, dormant oil can be made at home with common household ingredients. If made correctly, a homemade dormant oil spray is just as effective as any commercially produced variety. Furthermore, there are different recipes available for use in treating specific insect problems.

Control for fruit trees (smothers insects):

To control soft-body insects like aphids, mites and mealybugs, all you need is canola oil, laundry detergent and water. Mix together 1 tablespoon of canola oil, a few drops of laundry detergent and a quart of water. Shake well and pour the mixture into a spray bottle when you are ready to use it. This mixture controls insects by smothering the insects, so make sure to use an adequate amount when applying it to your fruit trees. In addition, this solution may be used as a preventative spray that works by smothering insect egg casings.

Control for Fruit Tree Insects (deteriorates outer waxy coat):

This is a spray that deteriorates the waxy outer coating of the insect, thereby exposing it to the elements, which causes its downfall. To make a dormant oil spray for fruit trees that accomplishes insect control via this method, start by mixing 5 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of soap (preferably of a natural origin like olive oil or castile soap) with 1 gallon of water. Pour the mixture into a sprayer and shake it vigorously before applying it. The baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are an important part of this solution because they work to sterilize fungal spores that are potentially damaging to fruit trees. This spray is also great for use after pruning as a way to seal the tree and keep unwanted pests out.

Insecticide Garlic Spray:

1 garlic head , 2 cups water: use entire head of garlic and blend with water in blender on high speed for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a nonmetal container and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Then strain mixture though cheese cloth and add an additional gallon of water. Shake to mix. Apply liberally to tops and bottoms of leaves.

Insecticide Soap Spray:

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

Mosquito Spray:

Two or more full bulbs of garlic smashed flat with your coffee mug; peel and put into a screw top gallon jug. Add 1/2 cup of minced garlic, then fill with water. Keep at room temp. for two days. You use a 2 1/2 gallon sprayer; with 2 cups of the juice strained through a cloth, 1 cup of vegtable oil, and 3 tbls. of liquid soap; then fill with water to the line. Shake well, pump; then spray wherever you want. This will kill them dead and work atleast till the rain comes. The soap helps it stick to their wings and other surfaces. Keep adding water and minced garlic to the jug to keep it filled and smelly.

Mosquito spray II:

Use 1/2 cup pine cleaner, 2tbls of liquid soap in a quart garden spray bottle; then fill with water. Shake and spray. The only thing that it won't kill in 30 seconds is hard shell beetles.

Natural Fire Ant Control:

Use ground cinnamon powder to kill fire ants. Sprinkle the whole mound with cinnamon.

Hot Pepper Spray: This can be used to repel, deer, rabbits and other pests from your flowers and some vegetables. Note, use caution with vegetables as a peppery taste may remain on the fruit.

Put 6 hot peppers (the hotter the better) and 2 cups of water into a blender. Blend at high speed for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a nonporous container and store at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain through a cheesecloth into a one quart container and fill container to top with water. Shake to mix. Apply liberally to plants. Re-apply every week to 2 weeks or after a rain.

Fall Tonic: 25 lb. gypsum, 10 lb. garden fertilizer(either 4-12-4 or 5-10-5), 5 lb. bonemeal. Mix all ingredients together, then apply to 100 square feet of soil with a hand held broadcast spreader. Work the tonic into the soil and then cover with a thick blanket of leaves, straw or other organic mulch.

Fall Lawn Food Mix: 50 lb. bag of lawn food (covers 2500 sq. ft.), 3 lb. epsom salts, 1 cop laundry soap. Mix all these ingredients together. Apply at half the recommended rate with a handheld broadcaster or drop spreader.

Compost Feeder Tonic: Just like your plants, your compost pile needs a boost now and then. Once a month, spray it with this tonic. 1/2 can beer, 1/2 can regular cola, 1/2 cup liquid dish soap. Mix these ingredients in the jar of your 20 gallon hose-end sprayer and apply generously.

Fungus Fighter Tonic: 1/2 cup molasses, 1/2 cup powdered milk, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 gallon warm water. Mix the molasses, owdered milk and baking soda into a paste. Put the mixture into the toe of an old nylon stocking and let it steep in a gallon of water for several hours. Then strain and use the liquid as a fungus-fighting spray for your perennials.

Winter Sleep Tonic: 1 can beer, 1 can regular cola soda, 1 cup baby shampoo, 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup instant tea granules. Mix all these ingredients in a bucket. Pour them into your 20 gallon hose end sprayer. Saturate your mulch in your beds and spray around any shrubs and beneath trees.

Rachel Reed's Alfalfa Tea: May I share with you and your many gardening friends my recipe for "Alfalfa Tea"  I use it to fertilize everything in my garden.  I have wonderful results.  I can water a plant with it and the next day the blooms are more intense in their color and the foliage is more healthy.  The only drawback is the "barnyard odor".

10 CUPS ALFALFA PELLETS (obtained from feed stores) 

Add the pellets to the trash can.  Fill trash can with water.  Stir.  Cover trash can tightly with lid.  For the next three days stir "tea" several times a day in order to dissolve the pellets.  Keep covered.  On the third day add epsom salts and fish emulsion.  It is ready to use on any vegetable, plant, tree or bush.  I guarantee success.  You will never want to use a commercially prepared fertilizer again.  At times I have been out of epsom salts and the fish emulsion and I have omitted those products and the results have been good but not as spectacular.  I store the "tea" in gallon plastic containers and hide these around my garden so that I don't have to always take the "tea" from the trash can.

When all the "tea" is used, there will be enough pellet residue in the bottom of the trash can that you again fill the trash can with water and make more "tea".