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In keeping with the organic gardening concept, it is always preferable to seek natural solutions to garden problems such as pests and common diseases.. Should you have any ideas to share on this topic please send them to us for passing on to others.

Please also note that dishwashing liquid is called for in most of these ‘recipes’. It serves as a ‘wetter’ enabling the liquid solution to adhere to the plant for maximum effect. The environmentally friendly non-toxic dishwashing liquid is ideal for this purpose. snail

Insect Spray Concentrate

This is an all-purpose natural insecticide.

  • · 3 unpeeled garlic cloves 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid
  • · 3 teaspoons of liquid paraffin 2 cups of hot water

In a small bowl, crush garlic heads and add paraffin. Leave to stand for 24 hours then add the dishwashing liquid to the mixture.

Sieve the mixture, discard the solid bits and store the liquid in the fridge.

To use: Mix 1 tablespoon of concentrate to 1 litre of water. Spray every 2 weeks to be effective.

Wormwood spray (Artemesia)

This spray is best used against caterpillars.

  • · 1 cup of wormwood leaves 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid
  • · 3 litres of water 2 cups of hot water

Simmer wormwood leaves in 3 litres of water for 30 minutes. Stir, strain and leave to cool. Then dissolve the dishwashing liquid in hot water and add to the wormwood water. When cool, spray as required.

Red pepper spray concentrate

This is a good all-purpose insect spray and very effective against caterpillars.

  • · 1 unpeeled onion 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • · 1 unpeeled clove of garlic 3 litres water

Chop onion and garlic and combine all ingredients in saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and store the liquid in jars for up to 6 weeks.

To use: Dilute 1 tablespoon of concentrate to 1 litre of water, and add 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.

Comfrey foliar feed

This is a good general purpose liquid manure and may be used on all plants.

  • · 2 plastic buckets Plate and brick
  • · Flower pot that fits inside the bucket Comfrey leaves

Cut holes in the bottom of one of the buckets. Fill the bucket ¾ full with Comfrey leaves and pack down tightly. Put the plate on top of the leaves and weigh down with a brick. Place the flowerpot upside down in the second bucket and place the Comfrey-filled bucket on top of this. After 3 weeks there should be brown liquid in the lower bucket. Bottle the liquid and place the remaining wilted contents of the top bucket on the compost heap.

To use: Dilute 2 tablespoons of the Comfrey foliar feed in 2 litres of water; and add a little dishwashing liquid.

Powdery mildew

An alternative method of controlling powdery mildew is to spray weekly with milk dilute. Milk also acts as a foliar fertilizer and boosts the plant’s immune system.

Dilution: 2 parts milk to 9 parts water. Spray the affected plant weekly for good effect.

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