Friday, 21 June 2013

Making a Garlic Spray

Take that! Making sure the aphids don't get my chillis

Various projects on the go plus the cold spring means our windowsills have been groaning under the weight of plants for much longer than usual. Most have moved outside now, but one of the permanent plants earmarked for the indoor life is my chilli 'Basket of Fire'*.

I haven't had much success with chillis in the past and that's because I've moved them outside onto the patio for the summer. It wasn't until last year that I realised they like it really warm and so I need to continue windowsill growing with mine.

I've had loads of problems with aphids** on my indoor grown plants, especially the chillis. That's probably a sign of stress, so I'm ensuring everything is kept well fed and watered. I was getting a bit fed up with the regular squishing sessions needed to keep on top of the problem, so I was pleased to read in Homegrown Revolution last week that using a home-made garlic spray can be effective.

I've used this spray as a fungicide before, but didn't realise it can be used as an insecticide too (and as a slug/snail deterrent apparently). I have quite a few garlic cloves left from last year's crop which are a little bit shrivelled now, so their usefulness for cooking isn't good. A quick check showed they still packed a garlic punch smell-wise, so I guess they're OK for this use.

I'm trying the recipe from Homegrown Revolution, using my shrivelled cloves mashed up into a litre of cold water, then strained into a misting bottle after leaving overnight. A quick googling of garlic spray insecticide gives a whole host of variations on the theme including varying amounts of garlic, boiling not cold water and the addition of drops of washing-up liquid or vegetable oil. Pick the one you like the look of and get making! I thought Garden Organic's pdf looked particularly useful as it has a lot of information plus different recipes for a number of problems.

A few days after using the spray and I can report my chilli plants are clear of aphids :)

Sadly, I can't use the spray outside as it's not a selective pest killer. The likes of bees have had a hard time over the winter, so I'm not  going to do anything which might harm them and the other beneficial insects I have in the garden. Squishing duties look set to continue there for the foreseeable future...

Which pests are being particularly pesky in your garden this year?

* = I guess that makes it another of my Edible House Plants ;)

** = I've spotted loads outdoors and no ladybirds to hoover them up. I wonder if this is due to the harsh late winter/cold spring?

7 comments:

  1. Just what I need! I have some lovely 'chilli willy' and some black pearl chilli in the greenhouse just getting covered with aphids. Will definitely give this a go.

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  2. Great. That was just what I needed to save one of our apple trees. It´s attacked by mildew and I really didn´t know what to do to avoid chemicals. In the autum I guess I´ll try the "planting garlic around the fruit tree" trick ;-)

    /Birgitte

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  3. Matron - lovely to meet you on Wednesday :)

    I had a chat with the James the Head Gardener at Yeo Valley Garden yesterday and he said it's fine for plants like chillis in greenhouses. He did find it too strong for some of the tropical plants though and have stopped using it. He also reiterated my point about it's not a selective killer, so outdoor use isn't recommended.

    Birgitte - yes it's often recommended for mildew on cucurbits. I also saw that trick being used to try and prevent gooseberry sawfly in the kitchen garden at The Pig on Wednesday. I think this latter use has had mixed results, but probably will work better for your mildew problem!

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  4. Perfect! This is what I badly need for the infestation of mildew.

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  5. Sophia - welcome! Yes, it's mildew which first caught my attention for using this spray.

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  6. Have read various recipes for garlic based sprays so must try it out. I have not seen a single ladybird this year :( My peskiest pest has been the gooseberry sawfly which were disposed of by squidging - messy but effective.

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  7. Anna - crumbs I'd better check my goosegogs sharpish then! They looked set for a mega crop this year when I last checked them...

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