Bug Control

I love my garden yet I hate chemicals so thinking survival and no more pesticides, I thought I’d share some simple non chemical remedies for the bugs that would happily ruin our essential winter supplies if I didn’t do all out war against them.

Soap aka washing powder.
one watering can filled with 2 liters of hot water, stir in 2 tbs of washing powder (non biological stuff) and leave it to cool. Top off with cold water and water round the STEMS of the plants.
CAUTION, Too much or hitting the leaves can cause chemical burns to the plants.

Garlic Spray.
2-3 whole garlic heads crushed down and mixed in vegetable oil for a day or so.
Strain the mix and add 3/4 liter of water and a tsp of washing up liquid.
Mix well and spray.

These two simple mixes target Aphids and white flies.
Low persistence though but don’t go mad, after all soap and oils can hurt your veg.

Then you’ve got the flying bugs.
A novel idea I got from the Internet was to make up “sticky” cards.
Old business cards painted in the brightest oil paint you can get your hands on.
Yellow or simple white gloss seems to work a treat.
Then, when dry, coat them with Vaseline.
Hole punch the cards and tie them to the stems on mount on canes alongside the plants.
Bugs fly onto the cards and get stuck. Simple!
Only problem is it also attracts ladybirds which every gardener knows are veracious eaters of aphids and other nasties and the last thing you want to do is kill them.

As for ladybirds? In summer I’m forever looking for them.

My little matchbox is filled at every opportunity and quickly transferred to the plants.
Then, sit back, and watch them feed. Tomato plants especially attract bugs and 1/2 dozen ladybirds can clear a well infested plant in a day.

Pepper Dust.
Not only useful as a chav deterrent, 2 tbs. of red pepper, a 1/2 tsp of soap and 4 liters of water makes a good spray for cabbage and other broad leaf veg.

Herbs.
Lavender or any REALLY smelly herb made into a “tea” works too.

Fill a mesh laundry bag with whatever and stand it in 5 liters of water. Leave it in the sun to “cook” for a day or so.
Remove the bag, add a 1/2 tsp of liquid soap and spray the resulting brew round.

Vinegar.
I love this stuff BUT it’s dangerous to use.
As a weed control it’s brilliant. use neat with a tsp of soap on the weeds preferably when sunny. KEEP IT OFF YOUR VEG PLANTS THOUGH.
It literally cold burns the weeds to death because it is so acidic.

Slugs.
Beer traps, and fine tilling the soil, all help but the BEST control is frogs, toads, hedgehogs, thrushes, blackbirds, robins, and starlings.

Everything or anything else?
Diatomaceous Earth isn’t only useful against garden bugs, it’s great when dealing with bed bugs, ants, fleas, ticks and cockroaches.
A while ago I mentioned permethrin. Ant powder for want of a better term. It’s not natural, I carry it as “sprinkle dust” for bug control when putting my gear down in unfamiliar locations. As a duster it’s great against most creepy crawlies YET BE CAREFUL, it also kills of the ever useful ladybird.

Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide made from the flowers of chrysanthemum. Simple to make, effective but suffers from low persistance i.e. a days worth of killing power at the most although some experts quote 48 hours. I love this stuff and apart from that the source flowers looking great, if you disperse both of these flowers in between the veg, I dunno why, but it also deters some bugs.

How to do it:-
You’ll need to grow Pyrethrum daisies or chrysanthemum. 
Both grow REALLY well and are low maintenance.
When the flowers are in full bloom, cut the flowers and dangle them head down in water for a day.
Now dry them in the DARK.
Keeping them cool and in the dark will prevent loss of potency.
Ultimately long term storage needs COLD!

If you want a dusting powder, just grind the dried heads to dust.
Wow, that was soooooo hard.
The finer the better BUT it will degrade quickly.

As a spray, crush and grind as before.You’ll need about 10 grams or 1/2 an ounce of powder.
Stir into 3 liters of warm water, add 3 tsps of washing up liquid or any seed oil i.e. sesame or sunflower oil, and a tea bag as tea contains tannin.
No tea? Boil tree bark. The brown liquid is usually high in tannin

I have tried “high tech”.
It sort of works but a bit fiddly.
My old PV cells and motor cycle battery work.
Two strips of foil, 2 cm apart, pegged round the plot and connected to the battery works a treat.
It’s so funny watching the slugs repel when bridging the foil.

That’s it.
Not really survival BUT as we are preparing for the UK governments attempts to starve us to death, AND the fact that home grown veg tastes a heck of a lot better than the rubbish supermarkets sell, our summer is going to be “fun”.

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