OK so if I use soap.. what kind of soap should I use? Dawn? I think I am a little late to start companion planting since I'm already in a war... which I will win!! My grandpa has used sevin dust forever and has told me to use it.. Will the soap take care of most of the insect that are considered pest? It's my first crop so I guess I'm being very protective..
I know the feeling of being protective. Like other things, you may not need to overbear on your plant's livelihood. You should be able to find that balance and protect only when the signs indicate. I know several people consider Sevin as safe. In some ways it is. My choice is to protect myself and my environment with intelligent decisions and cooperate with the intelligent design that has been handed to me in this life.
Organic insecticide soap is a good start. I really like castile soaps made with coconut fatty acids. You can use dishwashing liquid with good results. I won't go into the composition of dish soap here. (Some things can be carried too far). You should be able to find it locally. If not, I can direct you to some mail order supply houses. I like to make my own from vegetable fatty acid and lye (vegetable oil and wood ashes - for example). You can use most household detergents with some success, I think dishwashing liquid is a good and easy route.
Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap diluted with water is a really good option in my mind and I have used it comfortably. Incidentally, the Amish told me that the use of Poho oil (a concentration of peppermint oils) was very helpful in controlling pests. I know for a fact that it worked on my daughter's ear infection problems. I was skeptical but entreatable. Those are some people that are extremely in touch with the land. I learned much from my (almost) 4 year exposure to their lifestyles.
Soap, as already stated, allows other chemicals to cling to the plant (generally the leaves) longer. It also disrupts the insect's cell membranes, usually by dehydration. This is the function of several of these remedies. DO NOT USE TOO MUCH SOAP. A little can go a long way. You do not want to kill your vegetation. Anything in improper doses can kill (too much water is a good example). BTW - soaps have been used for centuries.
A suggested recipe insecticide soap recipe (good starting point).
1 to 2 tablespoons liquid soap
1 quart water
Pesticide Soap Spray with the active ingredients added. There is plenty of testimony and history with these ingredients. I consider them the safest of my arsenal, yet effective.
The additives act as repellants. Using more than one ingredient has worked for me. There are probably synergies to discover here, but I do not have any hard data for you. Isolate them if you wish to experiment or mix freely to make an all purpose pesticide. The soap helps to make them cling to the plant.
cayenne or other hot peppers
I usually boil water and create a concentrated poultice and add more water to get a fluid mix. I store this in a mason jar and seal it and place it in the sun. This brews and extracts the ingredients. I strain and add to the soap mixture and use spray bottles to apply my mix when needed. I use coffee filters to strain the poultice (with water added). This is more art than science for me, although I make careful observations to see how the garden reacts.
Depending on how you water, you may have to reapply often. Use care to water without splasing on leaves. Heavy composting will help prevent splasing on leaves. This will prevent fungus and other plant issues and diseases. I consider composting and good soil structure to be the most important pesticides you can own.
Good luck with your efforts. Consider taking some of your Grandfather's advice and experience and incorporating some of your own. Weigh the pros and cons. Use a Ben Franklin chart to help you make these decisions. Measure results and make decisions. Always try to the best you can for yourself. Once you have made good decisions for yourself, share it with others. The world will be a better place for your efforts. (This man's opinion)