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Hot Pepper

Most peppers contain capsaicin, a substance known to repel insects and animals (including people). There are other plants that contain capsaicin as well such as ginger. Hot peppers are by far the easiest source though. They help in against mammals and soft bodied insects in the garden,

Peppers can be used as both a powder and a spray and each technique has its advantages and disadvantages.

As a powder it works great when "diluted" with diatomaceous earth against many insects. On days that are not incredibly windy the power works wonders repelling small mammals as the pepper agitates their mucous membranes (especially the eyes). However once it falls to the ground the protection offered against mammals is greatly diminished (but it keeps working on insects near the ground). Also the dust is much less likely to harm sensitive plants, thus it can be used in the heat of the day (non-humid). The largest negative to the powder is that it is much harder to control and much easier to have it effect your mucous membranes. Wear eye and respiratory protection when dusting and working in the freshly dusted area.

The spray works best against insects and stays on the plant longer... especially is mixed using a small amount of sticky substance (molasses). The spray can also irritate you and you should wear protection and make sure you don't touch a surface and rub your eyes. In heavily foliaged areas the spray still works decently well on mammals.

Pepper Dusting Powder:

    Completely dry some hot peppers. Grind them as fine as you can. I do enough to where I can put them in a blender and put it on high to make a "pepper flour".  DON'T open the blender until the dust has settled... ouch. Use full strength by sprinkling where you want it or Mix with another substance to dilute. You can make a great combo by mixing 5% pepper powder, 90% diatomaceous earth, and 5% pyrethrum powder.

Pepper Spray:


Blender or knife
Cheesecloth or panty hose.


6  Peppers (~3-4 oz) the hotter the fresher (not dried) the better.
6 teaspoons of oil (neem adds pest fighting power (but will kill more beneficial) but you can also use most cooking oils or mineral oil)
3 tablespoons of soap (Castile is best but you can use most dish soaps)
~1 pint of water

Making the Pepper Spray:

Fast Way:
Take the hot peppers and oil and place them in the blender. Blend on low speed and add just enough warm water to make it blend better. Keep on medium for about 1 minute or until you see that the pepper is in small pieces (keep in mind you don't want to blend it so much that the pepper will go through the mesh of a pantyhose or cheesecloth). Pour mixture into a container. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Mix the rest of the water and the soap in. When you need it, strain enough of the mixture through a cheesecloth or pantyhose (the more layers the better). Place remainder (unstrained) in a labeled glass jar for storage (Mason Jar). Follow the instructions for use below. Keep in mind that this mixture will not be as strong as the Slow Method

Slow Way (better):
Mince the pepper (finer the better), add it to the oil and let it soak for a least a day. Add the water and soap and mix thoroughly. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or pantyhose (the more layers the better). Place the remainder (unstrained) in a labeled glass jar for storage (Mason Jar).

How to use pepper Spray:

Shake pepper spray mixture. Use 3-6 teaspoons for every pint of water. Spray plants carefully and ensure that you cover the plant completely. Some sensitive plants may need to be tested on a few leaves first; give it 4 days and if you don't see any damage then you are safe.

The best time to spray is early morning or late evening. If it is too hot outside the solution may damage some plants. You can experiment with different concentrations.

Additional Information:

Protect yourself from the spray... really hurts when it gets in your eyes.



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