THE WORLD OF HERBS
J. E. Kinghorn
The winter months are when gardeners browse the mountains of seed/flower catalogues that jam their mailboxes every week. I for one are no different but I also use this spare time to research organic products, herbs and homemade recipes that control pests or enrich the growing conditions for certain plants or rid the problematic pests that plague them. While browsing, I found an article written by naturalist Sharon Lovejoy containing several hints for non-pesticide pest control that I found worth sharing.
Healthy hollyhock spray
1 ½ t baking soda
1 T canola oil
½ t ivory liquid dish soap
(Needs to be non-detergent)
½ C white vinegar
1 gallon water
Pour mixture into a small spray bottle and shake. Spray your hollyhocks once a week when first buds appear until end of bloom. Always apply in early morning making sure to drench leaves.
This next recipe takes fish emulsion fertilizer one step further. The smell is a lot worse but the plants love the nutrients and the harmful bugs hate it.
Mix as directed on bottle with compost and dress your potted plants or unhealthy annuals/perennials once a week for great results. To deter aphids, slugs, and Japanese beetles, apply a foliar feeding at least once a week using a 10% solution mixed with water. The folks in Maine claim it helps deter deer from shrubbery by applying it full strength around the shrubs once a month.
I've tried plenty of stinky stuff and even hot pepper sauce but if the deer are hungry enough they don't care about the horrible stench. Perhaps it's worth a try anyway but I'll be content if it just controls the bugs.
Loopers and cabbage moths can be kept under control with a garlic spray.
Peel and mince one whole head of garlic. Soak it in 16 oz. of mineral oil. Add 1t on non-detergent liquid soap and let steep for two days. Strain and store in glass jar.
To use: add 2T of mixture to 32 oz. of water in a spay bottle. Shake well before each application.