An easy DIY Tomato Leaf Pest Spray to make from unwanted tomato plant prunings.
Maybe it’s because I’m naturally frugal, but I’ve never been very happy about pinching out the side-shoots on young tomato plants and just throwing them away. If you want lots of tomatoes, you can always use them to Multiply Your Tomato Plants and of course your compost heap will always happily convert them into next season’s compost. But using them to make a Tomato Leaf Pest Spray is the perfect solution; both money saving and problem solving!
It’s quite obvious that the tomato plant has a natural resistance to bugs, as they never seem to get nibbled at all. It turns out that those pesky little pests aren’t as simple as they look, and they have a very good reason to be cautious.
As members of the nightshade family, tomato plants contain toxic compounds called alkaloids in their leaves. When the leaves are chopped and steeped in water, they release these alkaloids making a very effective repellent that is both toxic to aphids and other leaf eating insects but completely safe for us and other beneficial bugs like bees and ladybirds..
Harnessing the natural defence mechanisms of the tomato plant in this way will not kill anything, just make the plants you want to protect seem less attractive, and effectively persuade the pests to relocate.
To make tomato leaf pest spray:
- Collect the leaves to make the spray when you’re pinching out the unwanted side shoots, or stripping off the lower leaves of your tomato plants.
- Just soak one to two cups of chopped tomato leaves in two cups of water.
- Let it steep overnight.
- To make the spray, strain the leaves from the water using a fine sieve. Add another one to two cups of water to the liquid and add it to a spray bottle.
- Spray the leaves of the infested plant with the spray, paying special attention to the undersides of foliage, since that is where aphids most commonly congregate.
- If you have a stubborn aphid problem, you could add a couple of chopped garlic cloves and 2 drops of dish soap to the steeping solution. This 3 Ingredient Anti Aphid Spray remedy can be even more effective, but do be very careful to avoid any beneficial bugs such as bees and ladybirds.
Caution: While this spray is very safe for humans, if you are allergic to members of the nightshade family, it might be best to avoid this recipe and try this other simple 3 Ingredient Anti-Pest Spray