"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Monday, 1 August 2011

Pest control

I'm such an idiot!

We paid a visit to an old principle last week - one who is, hopefully, going to figure greatly in my plans in the years ahead.  One of the questions he asked me was "are you going to farm organically"?

Of course!  That is my plan.  There is no other plan, nor alternative!!  Even RMan is coming round to my way of thinking... not that he had much choice in the matter. LOL
Horrible, leaf mega munching, grotesquely swollen worm specimens
But, I've been fretting and worrying about organic pest control on the farm. With the pests we get there (ants, ants and more ants - which bite and which also means we have scale - and locusts and wurmpies (horrible, leaf mega munching, grotesquely swollen worm specimens).  Apart from my spray mixture, which certainly is effective on the wurmpies and locusts, I have been battling with the ants and the inevitable scale.

But I am such an idiot!

A couple of months ago I purchase a small (150gm) and expensive (ZAR12.00) bag of (food friendly - not-the-one-you-can-purchase-to-use-in-swimming-pool-filters) diatomaceous earth.  With it came a leaflet explaining its' use.  Yes, I did read the leaflet, and yes, I clean forgot about the diatomaceous earth after I had placed it in my gardening / vegetable seed cupboard, until next season when I would need it.  And no, I had not thought of it in the broader scheme of things - I had only focussed on vegetables.
Diatomaceous earth
But pests on lemon trees!  Well, I think that will do very nicely.

Why - well, I was Googling "eco-friendly", etc this past weekend and came across this brilliant site.

Now I need worry no more.

Yes, I am aware that diatomaceous earth is harmful to bees, butterflies and predatory wasps.  But on plants (such as spinach, beetroot, potato and tomato plants) which require no insect pollination it should work a treat!

It can be applied in the following ways:

1. dust onto / around plants (in my case lemon trees) - this uses quite a bit of the diatomaceous earth and one cannot control where it goes.  Nor will it settle under the leaves LOL;
2. mix a heaped tablespoon with a litre of water and a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid (to help the mixture adhere to the plant). Apply using a spray bottle with a coarse spray - remembering to keep shaking ("stirring") the mixture to keep it in suspension.  Re-apply every 2 - 3 weeks.
The first of...
For I reckon that together with a hefty planting of catnip, diatomaceous earth will solve most, if not all, my problems.  Hopefully, companion planting will sort out the balance in my vegetable patch...

I'm certainly going to experiment - one lemon tree with diatomaceous earth (both the spray and the powder at the base), one with a catnip planting at the base and a control one of nothing of all.  I'll let you know what transpires :)

Isn't the www a wonderful invention :)


wickets said...

off topic somewhat but de is very good as pest control for dogs etc also carpet fleas and other horrible little things lol. MUST be food grade de though

Jane said...

I have had wonderful results with DE in my greenhouse keeping the slugs off the greens. I really think you need some Guinea Hens, they will take care of all the problems you mentioned plus they are birds native to Africa. And they are not as destructive to plants as chickens.

Dani said...

wickets - Yeah, thanks. The link above also leads one to other DE pest controls :)

Jane - Well now - our neighbour, CGuy, is planning on getting Guinea Hens LOL - so guess the ground level insects will be sorted, but it's the leaf munching jobbies I need to sort out LOL

Mr. H. said...

I would really like to know more about your future experiences with the catnip as we always allow it to grow wild all around and in our gardens. I was just sure if it helped or not as it has always been there...perhaps if it was gone I would notice a big difference in the amount of pests we have. As I type this I can see some hanging on our porch to be dried for the cats and us.:) Best of luck with your natural pest prevention endeavors.

Dani said...

Mr H- I'll let you know. What do you (personally) use catnip for?

frann said...

I can see an orchard!!

Leigh said...

Sounds like an absolutely excellent experiment. And since ants and aphids are a problem world around, your results will be of great interest to us all. Really enjoyed the link. I have high hopes on polyculture as well, though some of the permanent ones (perennial) take awhile to establish. But you've got me thinking, I wonder if a spray of catnip tea would help???

Dani said...

Leigh - that's a good idea also :)

Dani said...

Frann - I received notification of your comment - it's not showing on my blog though...? Yup - t'is an orchard in the making :)

pest control gainesville va said...

Pest control plays a very important role in the prevention of diseases for it helps in the elimination of this pest.

Dani said...

Pest Control - Welcome :) Exactly. Pest control is not just the prevention of crop munching / destruction - it is also vital in the prevention of plant diseases, such as ants, which transport scale which drain the sap of a plant, and thus weaken / kill it.