Like many of the avid gardeners that visit Granny Mouse, General Manager, Sean Granger, often struggles with some unwanted guests that make themselves comfortable in our beds and settle down to sumptuous meals made up of the beautiful flowers and foliage in our garden.
We’re very aware that chemical pesticides have a negative effect on the environment – not to mention the fact that they’re pretty harmful to humans too. So, rather than put a toxic mint leaf into your cocktail or use a noxious sprig of rosemary with your roast, we have learnt to borrow some of the ingredients from our own larders to concoct organic ways of dealing with unwanted pests.
1. Salt Spray: We use this for treating plants infested with spider mites by mixing two tablespoons of salt into 3.5 litres of warm water. We then pour this into a spray bottle and apply directly on to infected areas.
2. Mineral Oil: We’ve found that mixing a high grade mineral oil (between 10 and 30ml) with a litre of water dehydrates insects and their eggs.
3. Oranges: Citrus is great for eliminating soft-bodied bugs such as slugs, aphids, gnats and mealy bugs. Add the rind of a fresh orange or 1 ½ teaspoons of dried citrus peel to two cups of boiling water. Let this solution rest in a warm spot for 24 hours. Strain and then spray entire plants.
4. Citrus Oil: Ants can be a huge pest in our garden and to stop them in their tracks, we use a combination of 10 drops of citrus essential oil and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. We mix this with a cup of warm water, add it to our spray bottle and nuke the pesky little critters. To tackle slugs, we also use citrus oil, this time adding 30ml to three tablespoons of liquid organic washing soap to a few litres of water.
5. Eucalyptus Oil: When it comes to flies, bees, and wasps, we simply sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus oil around and they head off in another direction!
6. Onion and Garlic Spray; One minced clove of garlic and a medium-sized organic onion added to a litre of water and then boosted with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one tablespoon of liquid soap after an hour is our go-to general insect repellant. It can be stored for a week in the fridge.
7. Tobacco: You can also nuke garden pests such as caterpillars and aphids with something that’s not exactly helpful to humans either – tobacco. A cup of tobacco soaked in about 4 litres of water and left to seep overnight can be used on all plants except tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
8. Chilies: You can either use fresh chilies or chili powder. A litre of water and a few drops of soap to chili powder can be shaken together and then sprayed on to affected plants. If you’re using fresh chilies, boil in a litre water, allow to cool, add a few drops of soap and then head for the garden.