Monday, June 4, 2012

Insect control

Several years ago I made this stuff--I figured, insects don't like garlic, they don't like onions, they don't like hot peppers and they don't like vinegar.

So I mixed the four, using onion seeds instead of onions. The second batch I left out the garlic and it worked just as well. The ingredients are better fresh, but dried works.

Let it all sit in the vinegar for a couple days to as long as necessary--no bacteria or fungus is going to be caught dead in this stuff! Then strain it and pour the juice into a spray bottle. Or just pour off the juice and cover the pulp with more vinegar for the next batch.

Mix it with water at 5:1 or more. For a really bad infestation you may need to use it straight, but only if the problem has gotten to that point before you start. Aphids, beetles, spiders, whatever. It seems to work on everything. I never tried it on spider mites, because they're mostly in the house and there are people in the house who don't like hot peppers. :)

Spray it every day until the problem is gone, but watch the plants. Some plants are really sensitive to acids. It's totally biodegradable and you don't need to worry if your kids drink it (although they might end up immitating a fish to get rid of the taste).

Oh, and try to use white vinegar. My understanding is that other vinegars have a lower acid content, not to mention that they're usually made from fruit of some kind. I use a dilution of water and plain white vinegar (10:1) to get rid of fruit flies and gnats on my houseplants.

Note: I've seen suggestions that you should use some dishsoap in your mix, but unless it's biodegradable it might damage the plants. If you use dishsoap, don't get it on the roots and keep a careful eye on the more tender plants.

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