Monday, February 28, 2011

Tasty Pest Killer

Not something that you'd think go together, but I've found a great insecticide that uses basic kitchen ingredients, some of which can be eaten later!! I got the recipe from Wendyl Nissen's book, advertised below, Domestic Goddess on a Budget. I've been trying to get rid of the white parasite for months now. I'd been using a commercial product, which was effective, but concerned me a lot. We love to sit out on the balcony, we like to touch the plants and when you spray insecticide, it tends to go everywhere. Even covering up and wearing gloves doesn't help as it splatters as it hits the plants and leaks all over the place. Then we can't sit out there for several days or touch the plants, and when it's finally safe, you have to do it again!
So, after a crazy weekend a few weeks back when I took all my bulbs out and soaked them in my remaining commercial insecticide and washed all my plants down with the stuff, I decided enough was enough. I needed something I could use regularly without having to worry about skin irritations and poisoning afterwards. Especially when I checked my plants a week later and found more of the horrible white fluff attacking all the new buds.
In Wendyl's recipe you only need 3-4 chillies, 3-4 cloves of garlic, half a cup of water (the edible part) and quarter of a cup of dishwashing detergent (although, I've used only a few squirts and it's been working fine).
As quoted from her book, "steep the chillies and garlic in the water over a low heat for fifteen minutes. Cool, [strain] and pour into a spray bottle with the liquid detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with water." If you save the chillies and garlic after straining, you could add them to a stew or something (just don't add the detergent too).
I've done this in the last two weekends, and I haven't seen even the tiniest bit of white fuzz. I'm going to do this for a month, and then reduce it to once a month. Parasites are always making a comeback, but I feel better about making this concoction a habit than the commercial ones.

Steeping Chillies and Garlic


Soaking bulbs. All the white dots are the parasites


A fresher look. The bulbs are so much happier now.

Next step... Getting rid of red rust fungi!

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