DIG & SOUL : Organic Pesticide

My new favorite thing happening on the ground is a partnership between DIG (Development in Gardening) and SOUL.

Patrick, a local Ugandan, started DIG out of a need to survive. He was 15 years old when he lost both his parents to AIDS. He had 8 siblings to take care of. They needed food so he started growing fruits, vegetables and herbs around his house.

But fulfilling this responsibility did not satiate Patrick. He started support groups of families affected by HIV/AIDS.

The model is simple yet highly affective. The group meets once a week for an educational workshop. Another day of the week, they all dig, plant and harvest as a group at a different member’s plot of land. This way, there is a deep sense of community forming while making lots of progress in the garden. Often women or men will tackle their gardens alone, with only the help of their children. This one one of the many reasons why they believe it is advantageous to have so many of them.

Patrick understands that surviving isn’t enough. He understands that nutrients aren’t going to be supplied in a heavy carb and starch diet. He is introducing permaculture and a balanced plate to the village. He is explaining that a healthy lifestyle is sustainable and that we are just a small part of a bigger cycle with Mother Nature.

Meeting him was like a breath of fresh air. It is so nice to chat with someone who knows more than me about nutrition and health. This is not tooting my own horn, but rather just speaks for the low-level of health education that exist in the village.

For example, at most family dinners I go to, the first things that are served are: white rice, matoke, pasha (corn flour stirred vigorously with hot water until it forms a sponge like substance) and various types of potatoes. There are some other very tasty and healthier options, but the carbs and starch are what they consider the meat of the meal.

DIG is all about spreading the love and the knowledge, which is why everyone at SOUL was so eager to partner with Patrick. It is our first local partnership and with ten motivated women, the group is off to a great start.

I myself was excited to sit in on the workshops. I have a garden bed awaiting at home and I don’t have the greenest of thumbs. With high hopes of having a commune one day, it’s about time I learn how to dig.

The first class I attended was how to make organic pesticides. I was bursting with excitement just at hearing the word organic.

The class was mainly in Lasoga but the recipe is easy.


  • Several large garlic cloves: acts as repellent
  • A few large onions: acts as repellent
  • Soap (1/2 bar or liquid): acts as binder
  • One small pack tobacco: kills maggots and caterpillars
  • Handful neem leaves: this may be harder to find if you don’t grow it already but you may be able to find the oil or other forms in health food stores
  • Handful small chili
  • 5 liters of water

Peel and dice onions and garlic. Combine all ingredients in water. Blend and massage with hands. Spray on nursery bed/garden during germination. Spray mid morning or evening.

Muddling the pesticide
Muddling the pesticide

Below are some other recipes I snapped from Patrick’s manual.

Recipe 1

Recipe #2

Recipe #2 continued

Like I mentioned, I’m still a novice but it all seemed easy enough to me. I’m going to start digging my nursery bed tomorrow. About a week later, depending on the germination, I will use the pesticide.

I am so excited…I’m planting three types of lettuce, squash, watermelon, two types of basil, scallions and a handful of other things. I have visions of creating the perfect little Ugandan summer salad and then sitting on my front porch just savoring every bit as the last bits of sun rays kiss my shoulder. What a life!

Wish me luck!

dig 7

dig 8

6 thoughts on “DIG & SOUL : Organic Pesticide

  1. Patrick sounds like a great guy ! What sort of dressings are available for your salads to come.. You’re going to need at least oil and vinegar… or some Ranch Dressing ! What does Patrick need to increase his output of crops..?? besides a tractor.. Darrell

    1. Well…I brought over some organic dressing. Just one bottle though so I will probably make a simple dressing out of olive oil, lemon and herbs. I can find olive oil at the supermarkets.

      The great thing about his model is that the groups are able to produce a lot of crops on their own. His personal gardens support him financially and he even has gardens that he uses as savings meaning all the profits from that garden are put into savings. For the others that are being educated in the groups, it is up to them what they do with the output.

  2. I remember that in my first and second years of teaching my class had a garden right outside our windows…later we had a great salad and made butter for the crackers …I am so proud of you and your new interest. Send pictures of your new living space when you can…I go to Honduras the first of July. Bestest love grandma

    1. I would love to make butter!!! The grandmother that I am renting the house from has a few cows and the best milk in the village! It sounds like in many ways I am following in your foot steps, how exciting! I will definitely send photos once the house is more complete. I just got water/shower installed today! I can’t believe it…it happened so fast! Now all I have to do is get rid of a big rat that is frolicking around during the night…

      Love you!

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