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Make Your Own Hot Pepper Spray From Master Gardener David Wall

July 7, 2024 – Many of you probably have or carry pepper sprays in your pocket or purse to deter bad guys. These containers are compact and can quickly deter a bad guy. The only problem with a spray is its short duration. It would be nice to have a spray bottle that could be used repeatedly at home, and in the garden.

Pepper sprays are safer that chemical pesticides and repellents. They are non-toxic to your vegetable plants and won’t harm pollinators. Also, it deters, not kills, except for spider mites and cabbage worms. Pepper sprays leave a “hot” layer of heat on the plant which pests don’t like.

Cayenne is the most used pepper, but hotter peppers up to habanero can also be used. Peppers can be powder, dried, fresh, or flakes. Adding garlic can intensify the spray. To make your pepper spray, take one gallon of water, 10 cayenne peppers (or 5 tablespoons of pepper flakes or powder), and six cloves of garlic. Use a blender to puree the peppers and garlic.

Now, add the water, stir, and simmer on stovetop for 30 to 45 minutes. All this is done to increase absorption of the pepper oils into the water. Remove heat, wait 24 hours, and strain through a cloth. Store in a sealed container or spray bottle for up to a month. Add a few drops of natural biodegradable dish soap for better plant adhesion when putting in a sprayer.

Best time to apply is early in the evening. Avoid spraying in the heat of the day. Be sure to spray as much of the underside of plants where smaller pests love to hang out. Reapply every few days and whenever it rains.

Always wash vegetables to rinse off any of pepper residue. If not, you’ll get some “hot” produce!


Author: Matt Janson

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