Home Remedies for the Garden
Author Sharon Lovejoy shares her tips on using household items to help prevent bug infestations and solve other garden problems.
Bug BouncerBounce those bugs right out of your garden with a long-handled spatula or spoon. Go outside early in the morning with your beetle bouncer and a bucket of warm, soapy water. Look for infestations on roses, peonies, and other favorites. Hold the bucket below the bloom and gently whack the flower. The bugs will drop straight down and into your suds. Reuse the soapy water as a spray.
Funnel Away Beetles and BugsArm yourself with a large funnel (or make one by cutting off the bottom of a plastic bottle) and attack cucumber and Japanese beetles and squash bugs early in the morning. Tie a bag to the narrow end of the funnel. Slip the wide mouth of the funnel beneath the infested foliage and shake the plant or blossom. The insects will slide down and into the bag. When finished, tie bag closed and drop it into a trash can.
Simple Earwig TrapsPour equal parts canola oil and soy sauce into a shallow container and place in infested areas. Each morning arm yourself with a bucket of soapy water, check the lures, and dispose of the victims.
Bug OffSuck pests off your plants and out of the air with a small, hand-held vacuum or a canister vacuum with a tube attachment. Hold the vacuum about 1 inch away from the leaves and pass it back and forth quickly above the pests. Empty the contents of the vacuum into a bucket of hot, soapy water.
Weed-Free SolutionsAttack broad-leafed weeds with a directed stream of vinegar. You may substitute vinegar with equal parts water and isopropyl alcohol (70 percent solution), but be careful not to spray any treasured plants. This works well for areas in stone or brick patios where you don't want grass or weeds. Drench the leaves with liquid. Cover nearby plants with newspaper to protect them from overspray.
The Tea CeremonyAdd leftover tea (or used tea bags) to your watering can. Chamomile tea is antibacterial and fungicidal and will aid plants suffering from fungus and mildew. Use this tea as a foliar spray and on tender seedlings to prevent damping-off. Sprinkle black or green leftover tea on acid-loving indoor plants such as azaleas, gardenias, and camellias.
Japanese Beetle DanceThese beautiful but devastating pests need no introduction. Get rid of them! Invest in the most important and lethal pair of sandals you'll ever own. They're called Lawn Aerator Sandals, and they're one of the best ways to destroy the grubs before they become beetles. After a rain when the grubs surface, slip on a pair of the sandals and dance wildly on your wet lawn.
Sharon Lovejoy's Spraying Tips:
- Test homemade sprays on a small portion of the plant before applying it to the entire surface. Monitor the plant's response for a couple of days to check for burning.
- Always use soap (never detergent) so as not to burn plants.
- Prevent sunburned leaves by applying sprays early in the morning, and never when the temperature is above 85 degrees.
- Wear rubber gloves when using any sprays containing peppers, alcohol, citrus concentrates, mint oils, or anything else that could irritate your skin. And when spraying outdoors in breezy conditions, wear eye and nose protection.
- Thoroughly examine your plants before applying sprays to make sure that you aren't spraying any spiders or beetles that might be your allies in the fight against pests.
For more information, visit www.sharonlovejoy.com.
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This segment appears in shows #2815.Excerpt from Sharon Lovejoy's Trowel & Error: Over 700 Shortcuts, Tips & Remedies for the Gardener
© 2003 Sharon Lovejoy
Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., New York
All rights reserved.