Fighting pests at home

Harmless pesticides can be prepared for home gardens from -recipes compiled by the International Institute ofRural Reconstruction in the Philippines:

Tobacco: Place tobacco leaves, stems and dust in a container. Add boiling water and cover. After 3-4 hours, dilute with four parts of water and spray on plants. It kills all insects and should be used sparingly.

Custard apple seed: Grind the seeds, mix with water and spray to keep aphids, ants and other insects at bay.

Kerosene and soap: Make a spray mixing a quarter cup of soap powder with a quarter tablespoon of kerosene and one litre of water. It will combat serious insect infestation.

Tomato: Boil stems and leaves and let it cool. It is an effective long-term spray against caterpillars and flies.

Red pepper: Grind dry red pepper and sprinkle liberally on plants as a general repellant.

Garlic, onion and pepper: Chop and boil. onions for a few minutes with garlic and red pepper. Grind and blend the mixture, dilute with water, and then spray on plants. It is an effective repellant against a number of pests.

Wood ash: A mixture of wood ash and water combats fleas and beetles. Fresh - but not hot - ash spread around plant roots is effective against root maggots. Mix together an equal quantity of wood ash, powdered lime and soapy water to control cucumber beetles.