Got garden critters? Try easy homemade pepper spray recipe

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green diva meg's homemade pepper spray recipe image
If you have critters chewing on your flowers or veggies,
simple pepper spray can help.

If you are a gardener, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of planting seeds or seedlings and nurturing them to the point where the buds are abundant only to come out one morning and see sad stubby green stems as if someone accidentally weed-whacked your beloved plants. 

I’m a sucker for a cute bunny or chippie (chipmunk) or even the very hungry fat bastards (our not-so-nice nickname for hedgehogs). I’m the crazy lady who talks to squirrels and pigeons. When I was a kid, it was a rare thrill to see a few deer in the back yard. Now the deer literally walk up our street and wander in and out of the neighborhood yards like 4-legged thugs, brazenly munching on whatever suits them. Last week Gracie and I came up to our yard after our walk and there was a deer a few feet away that seemed relatively unperturbed by our presence and I swear it looked at me and sullenly asked, “do you have any more of those sweet red tulips from last week?” 


I’m not inclined to violence, but I would seriously like to deter them. So, one of the best deterrents for most of these critters has been hot pepper spray. It turns out the capsaicin found in hot peppers of the Capsicum genus are distasteful to mammals like deer, squirrels, rabbits, voles, possum, groundhogs, chipmunks and some insects. It doesn’t harm them, the environment, the plants or the humans who might eat them. 

The trick is to spray frequently as soon as you see evidence a critter is poaching your plants, and make sure to respray after rain. If you are consistent about applying weekly (or any time after rain), hopefully the uninvited guests will move on to tastier gardens.

You can buy a variety of capsaicin sprays, but they tend to get expensive and homemade pepper spray is actually super easy to make. 

Watch this fun little 1 GD Minute video tutorial to see how easy it is
(and have a chuckle)


Homemade Pepper Spray Recipe

what you need

1 gallon of water
3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons castile soap (I used peppermint because it can be an insect repellent)
spray bottle (either a couple of them or a gallon container to keep what doesn’t fit in the spray bottle)

what to do

  • add the red pepper flakes to the water in a large pot and simmer for about 15 minutes
  • stir in castile soap (important to help the concoction stick to the plants)
  • take off the heat and let stand for 24 hours
  • strain out the pepper flakes
  • and use funnel to pour into your spray bottle
  • NOTE: be mindful that the cooking liquid can cause some irritation to nose and eyes, and of course the liquid itself can be irritating.
Please check out our YouTube channel to see our short, funny and useful 1 GD Minute videos with recipes and DIY tutorials. Here’s a recent one…

And if you want to learn more about the content of this video, please read the corresponding post!


Eco-Style, GD Ticker, GD TV, Green Divas at Home, Green Divas DIY, Green Divas in the Garden, Green Divas Radio Show, Grow It, Nature

About the author / 

Green Diva Meg'

(aka Megan McWilliams Bouchard) is the founder of The Green Divas and GDGD Radio Network (the first green and healthy living radio network on earth for the earth). She's the producer and host of the popular Green Divas Radio Show, one of the first radio shows dedicated to sharing low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green. Green Diva Meg is a well-known green living expert and media personality.

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