There's nothing like having a home garden to make you begin to appreciate the trials and tribulations of the farmers who grow our food. This week Latis is joined once again with Wendy ‘Woo’ Sweet to discuss simple and effective methods of pest control in your own gardens and allotments.
Garlic makes for a very good natural insecticide when sprayed on crops and plants.
Crush 1 clove of garlic to every 500 mls of water, allowing to steep in overnight. Once steeped, this can be transferred into a mister for a ready-to-use spray which is superb at keeping whitefly and aphids at bay. Garlic is not only proving to be good crop for use in the kitchen, this fiery bulb is ideal as a companion plant with parsnip and carrots, keeping carrot fly away.
A homemade insecticide made from vegetable oil mixed with a mild soap, such as Dr. Bronner's castile soap works well against certain troublesome insects, such as aphids, mites and thrips. To make a basic oil spray insecticide, mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of castile soap, covering and shaking thoroughly. When ready to apply, add 1 teaspoon of your premixed oil and soap solution to 1 pint of water, again shaking thoroughly and spraying directly on the surfaces of the plants which are being affected by any little pests. The oil coats the bodies of the insects, effectively suffocating them blocking the pours from which they breath.
Similar to garlic spray, chili pepper spray is a great homemade natural insect repellent that can be used for a variety of different pests. To make a basic chili spray from chili powder, mix 1 teaspoon of powder with 500ml of water and several drops of mild castile liquid soap. This mixture can be used full-strength on the leaves of affected plants.
Many potential garden pests are sensitive to ground features. Slugs for example do not like copper piping or the sharp edges of eggshells so surrounding plants with such materials may keep many such species away.
The key point to remember with pest control in gardens is that you are not trying to remove the pest completely but to protect your plants and crops from serious damage. Most creatures that we see as pests are seen by our garden favourites as food, so encouraging more diversity within the garden always proves beneficial.