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DIY Organic Gardening Solutions – SALIFE

Keep the chemicals locked up and try your hand at fighting pests and diseases in an organic way this spring with homemade solutions.

Allium plants such as chives keep aphids at bay.

Long before garden centers and systemic fungicides, insecticides and herbicides, plants were still gnawed by pests and covered in disease.

Back then, the way to deal with insect and fungal attacks was to use what was available. For example, troublesome larvae were hand-picked, companion plants were added to circumvent problems, and potions were created from plant extracts to spray affected crops.

Equal parts milk and water make a good powdery mildew buster.

As a result of the ever-increasing shift to home-grown food, coupled with our desire to use less chemicals, especially around produce, we are growing more and more like gardeners once again looking for organic solutions. seems to have come full circle. their pest and disease problems.

Thankfully, there are many tried-and-true methods and recipes to protect and help edible foods and other plants and animals from the damage of fungal spores and gnawing pests that have been passed down from gardener to gardener.

The most important part of gardening is vigilance. Paying attention to the first sap-sucking aphids and barely visible powdery mildew dust can make all the difference.

The earlier you can address potential issues, the more likely you are to deal with an intrusion. You can also avoid many problems by watering and fertilizing regularly to maintain the natural vigor of the plant.

Grouping certain plants together encourages beneficial insects and deters problematic ones. Some of the best companion plants are herbs.

The combination of flowers, which often attract pollinators, fragrances which often repel pollinators, and of course multiple culinary uses, make herbs such as sage, mint, basil, tarragon and rosemary a staple in any vegetable patch. An ideal addition to .

Flowering herbs such as sage attract beneficial insects.

Artemisia absinthium is a large, hairy, silver-leaved perennial that has long been planted near chalk yards. The parasite-fighting thujone compound found in chicken pecking leaves has helped reduce intestinal worms and other bird parasites since ancient Egyptian times. Wormwood twigs in chicken egg boxes also deter mites.

Aphid-repellent garlic, chives, and other alliums have traditionally been planted between and around roses, tomatoes, and other plants susceptible to small suckers.

Wormwood discourages mites.

Homemade sprays to combat insect and fungal diseases are easy to make and you can find most ingredients in your garden or kitchen. Therefore, it is important to properly cover the plant, including the undersides of the leaves, when spraying.

Regular spraying is necessary as rain or overhead watering will wash away the solution. DIY sprays are generally difficult to store, so make batches and use as needed. It also makes sense to test the spray on a small patch of plants to check its sensitivity before spraying an entire garden.

DIY sanitizing spray
Great for controlling black spots, powdery mildew and rust.

1 tbsp soda bicarbonate
• 2½ teaspoons vegetable oil (such as canola)
A pinch of grated pure soap (or lux flakes)
• 1 cup of water

Combine ingredients in blender, blend for 1 minute and strain.
Add to 5 liters of water and spray.

powdery mildew buster
Mix equal amounts of milk and water.
Shake and spray.

homemade bug spray
• 4 chili peppers (spicier is better)
• 4 onions
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 2 tbsp soap flakes

Place all ingredients in a blender, cover with water and buzz. Pour into jars and leave for 24 hours.
Strain, dilute with 5 liters of water and spray.

Note: Eye, nose and hand protection must be worn. Spray upwind to avoid dust burn.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2021 issue of SALIFE Gardens & Outdoor Living magazine.

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DIY Organic Gardening Solutions – SALIFE

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