by: Ingrid Justick
Vol. 25, No. 3
More than 70 million Americans will garden this year, spending billions of dollars to keep lawns green, and flowers and vegetables free from pests and diseases. Last year, stores sold more than $2 billion worth of pesticides. But as concerns about tainted groundwater and contaminated food increase, gardeners are seeking more healthful alternatives to toxic chemicals.
We have to learn to understand the delicate relationship we have with nature and to participate without disturbing this important balance. Attract beneficial insects and birds to your garden by planting flowers, supplying water, providing shelter and food. Over 95% of insects in your garden are either beneficial or do no harm.
By practicing organic gardening, we keep our plants healthy and pest resistant. Water is one of the most effective weapons against pests. Here are some eco-friendly insect sprays and tips:
Basic insect spray: Mix 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid (not detergent) and 1 gallon water. Add sulfur to kill mites and insects (see packaged directions for amount.) Add 1-2 tablespoons baking soda to this basic recipe and you will kill fungi and insects.
Lemon spray: not only repels white flies and soft-bodied insects, it will also destroy fleas on your pet. Boil peels of 3 lemons in 1 quart water, cool, remove peels and place solution in spray bottle.
Hot pepper spray: repels insects and alienates black-spot on roses. Mix 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 quart water and 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid.
Garlic spray: Mix 1 quart water, 2 teaspoons garlic juice, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon liquid soap.
Tomato leaf spray: Mix 2 cups tomato leaves, 1 quart water. Bring to boil, cool, strain and add 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid.
Basic oil spray: Mix 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid.
Fungus-killing spray: Mix 2 tablespoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 1 gallon water, or, mix 1 tablespoon garlic juice and 1 quart water.
Vinegar spray combats fungal disease and black-spot on roses. Mix 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 1 gallon water.
Banana peel repellent: place banana peels around roses, or other plants plagued by aphids. As a bonus, the potassium in the peels stimulates large blooms.
Peppermint: repels ants and peppermint tea is a good all-purpose insect spray.
Lemongrass: repels wasps. Place some lemon grass in a vase on your picnic table and wasps will stay away.
Plants that repel insects: borage, dill, onion, fennel, sage, thyme, parsley, garlic.
By gardening in an organic, chemical-free way, you give back to our environment that has given us so much.
For environmentally friendly information: call 732-922-2935.
Printing compliments of The Atlantic Club