Homemade recipes can help battle against insects
The trend seems to be toward organic gardening, using few if any chemical sprays and fertilizers, and I am all for that. For a long time, I have been reluctant about using chemical sprays and I have tried to use substitutes that would not harm th...
The trend seems to be toward organic gardening, using few if any chemical sprays and fertilizers, and I am all for that.
For a long time, I have been reluctant about using chemical sprays and I have tried to use substitutes that would not harm the atmosphere or anyone who is in my garden.
Sometimes when I use substitutes, they do not destroy all the harmful organisms, but I am willing to furnish a bite or two to the enemies. However, there are those gardeners who do not want anything to chew up any part of their plants.
Noting that a lot of gardeners are turning away from sprays, companies are coming out with non-poisonous substances or ideas. You will note that as you shop garden stores.
Then there are those who have resorted to making their own concoctions at home. I have not. Some of those homemade sprays have turned my stomach; they seem dreadful.
But they may not seem so to you, so here are "recipes" that I have been told are being used.
If any of them appeal to you, be my guest, and do let me know if they did the job.
E All-purpose spray for aphids and other soft-bodied insects: In 1 gallon of water, mix in 1 tablespoon each of liquid dishwasher soap and hot pepper sauce, plus 1 cup rubbing alcohol. You can also add 1 tablespoon strained garlic juice which has been prepared by simmering 4 minced garlic cloves in ¼ cup water.
E Garlic spray No. 1: Place three cloves of garlic, one medium chopped onion and 2 cups water in a blender and blend for 1 minute. Add 2 teaspoons hot red pepper and steep for 24 hours. Strain through a nylon stocking or cheesecloth. Dilute with 5 cups of water before using.
E Garlic spray No. 2: Place in blender two cloves garlic, three cut-up hot peppers, 3 tablespoons chopped chives and 1½ cups water. Blend one to two minutes and let steep for 24 hours. Strain and add 1 tablespoon Ivory flakes or other similar soap. Dilute with 7 cups of water before using. Save the mash from either spray to bury around infested plants.
These sprays are also effective against rabbits because of the hot pepper as much as the garlic. To repel raccoons in corn, swab some of the mash or spray on the ears of corn.
E Simple pepper spray to use on cucumber beetles and corn borers: 3 tablespoons ground pepper in 3 cups boiling water. Apply as soon as it is cool, adding 2 tablespoons dishwasher liquid to help spray adhere to the plants.
E For cabbage pests: 1 ounce salt dissolved in 1 gallon of water. (Do not let the spray get on the soil).
E For aphids, cabbage worms and squash borers as well as blackspot on roses: Place handfuls of foliage from tomato plants through a juicer to make 1 cup. Add 8 cups water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Strain. You can also boil 2 cups of the stems and cutup leaves of tomatoes in 2 cups water. Cool, strain and dilute with 4 cups of water.
The simplest spray of all is a forceful hosing of plain water. This removes aphids and spider mites. If the pests persist, add 2 tablespoons dish detergent to 1 gallon of water and spray again. Of course, there are other recipes, but this seems enough for now.
There are, of course, other non-chemical ways of removing pests. One is picking them off with a gloved hand. Do this with potato beetles. With aphids, swiping leaves with a gloved hand will do away with a lot of them.
If slugs should hit your shade plants, such as hosta, which they are fond of, you can now discard the beer lure and do away with the old bait, which was lethal to children and pests, and now use a product called Sluggo, which will not harm children or dogs and cats.
What a relief that is. I haven't used it yet; let me know if it works.
Collins is The Forum's garden columnist. Write to her by mail at The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo ND 58107, or direct e-mail to her at email@example.com