Friday, June 17, 2016

Oils and Soaps for Plants

There is no doubt that summer is here with hot and humid weather.  At the Back Forty, the garden is almost in a dormant stage: it is much too hot to plant new seedlings and plants but to harvest and enjoy what was planted earlier this spring.

We are keeping a watch out for insects, bugs, and mildew on the beans and tomatoes as well as peppers and eggplants.  Here are some homemade and safe solutions for landscape and houseplants:

Horticultural Oil is so labeled in garden centers and these products are used as sprays.  Mix two (2) tablespoons liquid dish soap and two (2) tablespoons vegetable oil in one (1) gallon (about 4 liters) of water.

Spray trunks thoroughly and spray leaves and cover the underside too.  It is important that the insects be contacted directly by the solution.

It is supposed to control mealybugs, scales, and spider mites; however, this may be repeated several times.

Insecticidal Soap:  Mix four (4) tablespoons of liquid dish detergent in one (1) gallon of water.  Spray liberally on affected plants.  It is supposed to control aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.  It may be sprayed several times.

Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags:  I found this to be most interesting.  I save and use the coffee grounds and used tea bags in the compost pile.  The tannic acid prevents mosquito larvae from hatching.

This information was taken from a flier by University of Florida IFAS Extension.

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