Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Natural insect repellent

In the last week a few insects have taken a fancy to the plants I'm growing on the window sill and doorstep. First of all it was the marigolds which got black fly (apparently it attracts them). I found a recipe for a natural insect repellent online. It involves boiling a pint of water, taking off the heat and adding the rind of one lemon. This is then left overnight and strained off into a spray bottle. For extra measure I added a drop of tagetes essential oil into the mix.

This seems to be working. I've sprayed a few times over the last week and the marigolds are looking happy and healthy. Last year I tried a recipe involving vegetable oil, water and baking soda (or something like that) and it didn't seem all that effective, so I'm glad this one looks to be doing the job. I also discovered that it's a very refreshing drink, LOL! (That is, before I've added the essential oil).

Then today I looked out at the lovely lemon balm only to find that some of the leaves look like they're getting mold. In fact it's mealybug. Who'd have guessed! I've tried using the same spray and it's cleaned them up for now, so we'll see.

Then (!) I looked at the mint plant and it's got some weird looking patches on some of the leaves. I looked it up in my RHS Gardening book and it had a name that sounded something like the Cruciatus spell from Harry Potter! I know, it doesn't sound promising. Anyway, the recommended banishing spell was to remove all the affected leaves and burn them (I hope throwing them in the waste bin in a plastic bag will suffice!).

So for now it's me and the plants 1 - the insects 0!

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