Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pest Control

In past posts I've talked about our wars against pests around our yard.  Some are easier to combat than others, but there are a few that we are constantly at war with and that we can easily say we loathe.

The first of these is dandelions.  Ugh, just typing that word makes me angry.  Why do dandelion seeds have to travel so well?  And how long can a dandelion seed remain dormant in the ground anyway?  It seems like you pull one up and three more come around to replace it.  I know that if I were to buy a couple bottles of Roundup the problem would go away.  But everyone knows that there is only one thing more evil than Wal-Mart, and that is Monsanto. 

So, the other day, Shawn decided to try to make chemical-free herbicide.  He did some research online and found this pretty cool website that has recipes and reviews of the different strengths.  After the research he decided to go with a recipe of vinegar and a squirt of dish soap.  We found an empty spray bottle and he went to work.  He pulled the really big ones, but sprayed the smaller ones.

At first, it seemed like it was working because the weeds were withering and turning brown almost immediately.  But, a couple weeks later, I checked the weeds and there were more baby leaves coming up from the middle of each of them.  Dandelions have a pretty thick taproot so I wasn't surprised that it wasn't actually dead.  We haven't tried again, but I think if we make an effort to soak the roots and not just the leaves, it might work.

And on to pest #2:  APHIDS.  You know how much I hate them.  I really should have tackled them sooner, since my cauliflower plant is already starting to give me a nice cauliflower but hopefully my home made herbicide will take care of them before they ruin it.  Aphid-killing was my job in the garden when I was a kid.  My mom would give me a small spray bottle with slightly soapy water and I would go to town in the garden.  So even before I did my research on possible aphid killer recipes, I knew that it would include dish soap. 

After some looking here and there, I also decided to add some mineral oil.  The mixture I ended up making was mostly water, with a small squirt of eco dish soap and a couple tablespoons of mineral oil.  I just used it today so I'll let you know how it goes.  I hope it doesn't kill my plants.  I've read that it kills the aphids quickly so I may wash it off the plants tomorrow and reapply in a few days.  Oh, and if you want a link to some info, try this one.

Don't worry I made sure he put sunscreen on.

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