Sunday, June 20, 2010

How does your garden grow? Part 15: Natural pest control.

I love gardening. It could be flowers or fruits and vegetables. I love it all. What I don't love is all the hard work you have to put into flowers and produce. There are so many critters and insects working against you. There are many products on the market to help, but contain lots of nasty chemicals that you may not want absorbed into your plants or ending up as run off . Here are some ideas that you can do yourself.

- Spray diluted milk onto leaves of the plants that have powdery mildew. Do this 3x a week.
- Deer hate highly scented bar soap. Hang or nail near your problem spots. They also don't like the scent of human hair. Get some from your barber or hair salon.
- To get rid of aphids mix 1 cup vegetable oil with 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon heavy dish soap. Not detergent. Spray away the whole plant.
- Slugs are attracted to beer. If you put out a little dish with beer they will all dive in and die. Change daily. Eggshells smashed on your garden floor also deter pests including slugs. Would you like to crawl over broken eggshells? I didn't think so.
- To get rid of weeds you can boil water and pour directly on the weeds. Salt works well for weeds found in cracks. Don't pour in or around your garden as salt doesn't know the difference between a friend and a foe. Vinegar straight up is also handy at killing new weeds. Not strong enough to kill mature weeds.
- Ground cloves are not insect friendly. Mix 2 tablespoons of ground cloves with 1 quart of water. Spray the whole darn plant. Tops and bottoms. Reapply after it rains or once a week.
- Hot pepper spray: Mix 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper or ground chile (NOT chili powder!) powder with 4 ground up garlic cloves. Add 4 cups of water to your spicy mixture. Let soak over night and strain the garlic out. Pour into a spray bottle and have at it.
- Water your garden early in the day as wet leaves are a breeding ground for insects. My vote is for soaker hoses.
- Ladybugs are your garden's BFF. You can order them online or from any catalog. You can also plant some lady bug lovin plants such as flowers from the daisy, yarrow or tansy families. Lady bugs eat soo many garden enemies.
- To kill grubs in your garden or lawn sprinkle milky spore around. One application last a lifetime. So I've heard. Grubs eat the granules and die. Grubs are baby Japanese Beetles. Eeek!
- So the fungus on your squash goes into the local garden bar, Your Place, with one of your onion sets. The bartender brings the onion a beer and ignores the fungus. He leans over to the onion and says " He's not going to serve me? What gives? I'm a fungi!" Oh man. You didn't see that a comin did ya?! LOL Ha ha ha ha. Anyhoo, you can avoid this whole conundrum by mixing 2 tablespoons baking soda with 1 quart of water. Spray diseased area until it clears. 
- You may not have thought this was the place, but fly paper works wonders out in the garden.

Hopefully these do the trick for you this summer. These recipes/tips will save you money and the Earth. I'm having a few issues with something eating the leaves on my cauliflower and zucchini. Hopefully my recipes do the job. Do you have any recipes/tips to share?

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