While on the surface my desire to harness tomato leaf waste for a natural pesticide might seem frugal, the truth is I see it as more defensive.
There are news stories or things coming out every year blaming pesticides on a lot of the world’s ills. For example, we have the honeybee killing problem, pesticides working into groundwater leading to unsafe water, pesticides causing health risks with food, and a laundry list of a zillion things. The worst part is they don’t even work as intended because the pests eventually gain resistance so even more is required to help anything.
I’m big on land preservation and trying to work the land for the long-term. One of the main things mentioned in many books on many reputable sites is how you should wary of food from sites that could be “contaminated” with various pollutants, pesticides being among that list.
The thing is that not all plants are good at defending against certain pests so you pretty much need to treat the plants with something. Neem oil is popular though a resource I have readily available is tomato leaves. Tomato leaves have their own built-in defenses, also found in potato leaves and in much higher concentrations in tobacco.
This is one of the perks of having plants in the nightshade family because they have toxic alkaloids that drastically cut down leaf-ruining insects. Since I don’t grow tobacco anymore and I have more tomato leaf waste than anything as I prune suckers, then the tomato leaf is the ideal source to use.
My plants are not currently sprayed and currently nothing is being nibbled on, thing is all the plants currently planted out are….nightshades.
How to Make Tomato Leaf Pest Spray
- Collect leaf material by picking off suckers or removing bottom leaves of tomato plant
- Soak two cups of chopped tomato leaves in two cups of water.
- Let it rest overnight.
- Strain the leaves from the water. Add another cup of water to the liquid and transfer the liquid to a spray bottle.
- Spray the infested plant with the spray on top and bottom of the leaves and any vulnerable stems
If you have any nightshade allergies, it is best to to use with caution or pick a different formula.
Don’t allow contact to skin.
Wash any produce that comes off the plants.