Natural insecticides for edible plants & herbs
I'm learning to grow herb plants(basil,parsley,cilantro,rosemary,thyme,oregano)for use in my cooking & have had some type of pest eating the leaves. I don't see any larvae on the leaves & would like to know if you have any suggestions as to what pest may be causing this. Also, I would like to know if you have a recipe for making an insecticide that is safe for edible plants & herbs? Thanks so much.....Janet Allen
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The pest could be a caterpillar that feeds at night, a beetle, weevil or grasshopper. Without a photo of the damage or preferably of the pest itself, we can only guess.
There are many good bio-pesticides available which are not toxic for people, but with plants you will be using the foliage, the choice narrows because of residual oil coating and taste issues. Insecticidal soap and botanical insecticides like rosemary and clove oils leave an odorous residue. So does neem oil.
My choice would be a neem seed product with the active ingredient of Azadirachtin that repels insect pests as a preventive (not neem oil which will leave an oil coating.) Or pyrethrum (chrysanthemum extract) as a contact spray for pests which you can see and target directly. This knock down spray biodegrades in a few hours.
This product has both: