Gardeners who prefer a totally natural approach can opt for home–made, natural remedies
to cover a variety of insect and plant-related problems. Unless indicated otherwise,
use as a full cover spray and apply once a week for as long as the problem persists.
Garlic spray – fungal disease
Boil 5ml of crushed garlic in one litre of water for five minutes; strain and leave to cool.
Nasturtium spray – aphids, scale and red spider mite
Pour 500ml boiling water over two handfuls of fresh nasturtium leaves and allow to steep for 15 minutes. For aphids and red spider mite, dilute 10 drops of the resulting tea in one litre of water. For scale, use 250ml of the tea diluted in two-and-a-half litres of water.
Quassia spray – a general insect poison
Prepare a concentrate by soaking 200g quassia chips in two litres of water for 12 hours, then bring to a quick boil and strain. Quassia (Quassia amara), also known as Bitter ash or Bitter wood, is a tall tree, native to the West Indies, whose bark has noted insecticide properties. It is also used medicinally. Quassia chips are available from health shops.
Soap spray – aphids and mealy bugs
Dilute 10ml of dishwashing liquid in two litres of water. Spray daily for five or six days, then every second day until the aphids or mealy bugs disappear; remember to wet both the tops and undersides of leaves.
Soya bean spray – black spot and powdery mildew
Dilute 60ml soya bean oil in three litres of water and add 5ml of liquid soap. Spray as necessary. Black spot and powdery mildew are linked to damp, cool weather. Once the weather improves and becomes drier, they should disappear and there will be no need to continue spraying.
Wormwood or Tansy spray – cutworm, bollworm and fruit fly
To make a spray from wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), prepare a concentrate by pouring two litres of boiling water over 300g fresh or
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is a yellow-flowered perennial herb,