I like garlic, but insects don’t. At least that’s the theory, as I wait for my first batch of homemade garlic-cayenne spray to steep.
June is the time when insect damage to the garden really starts, and this year I’m not fooling around. Shavahn Best, who is my community-garden neighbor, said she saw Colorado potato beetles on her crops, and I saw flea beetles on my potatoes and broccoli. I’ve been dusting them with wood ashes to deter flea beetles, but now I’m bringing in a more powerful (though organic) ally.
I got this recipe from the Organic Gardening website. I chopped up a small onion into fine pieces, and put it in a quart of water with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I minced about five garlic cloves into the mixture and am letting it steep for an hour. I thought I’d have to use a blender, but I don’t want my smoothies to be spicy and garlicky. I’ll be straining it after an hour and then adding a Tablespoon of dish soap to help the spray stick to plant leaves. The mixture is supposed to last in the fridge for a week.
You have to be careful applying this stuff. OG recommends using rubber gloves and keeping the spray away from your skin and eyes. It’s supposed to be particularly helpful in warding off aphids. Other preparations on the Internet call for soaking garlic in mineral oil for a few days, and I may try some other garlic recipes.
Speaking of Shavahn, I’m impressed at how artistic the design of her garden is, with circles and flowers abounding, whereas my garden is all straight lines and looks a little like a rat’s maze. Her strawberries should be fruiting soon. We talked today about how the seedlings we buy at garden stores always seem to do better than ones we grow ourselves from seed.
I’m going to this garden, which is two miles away from my house, every day now to water the transplants. Tomorrow or the next day, the eggplant seedlings and the rest of the tomatoes will go in. June promises to be an active month!