Herbs are an organic gardener’s best resource, especially when it comes to preparing the garden for summer. Quite a number of herbs are a valuable source of nutrition for the soil, helping to improve its quality, others act as insect repellents or as trap crops.
When planning your summer garden it makes good sense to incorporate as many of these valuable garden helpers as possible.
To make the tea, the ingredients are put in a bag and dunked in water, much like making tea with a giant teabag, but the only differences are that you don’t use boiling water, and the tea needs to ‘draw’ for one to two weeks to allow the nutrients to soak out into the water.
When pest activity escalates to the level of an infestation and begins to threaten the harvest, then non-toxic insect sprays may be your only chance of saving some of it. Most herbal sprays are not poisonous so they don’t kill the pests, or the beneficial predators, they simply repel them. Marigolds, feverfew, southernwood and cotton lavender are used to make non-toxic sprays. (But sprays made with pyrethrum, from plants in the genus Chrysanthemum, are toxic to insects.) For more ‘oomph’, chillies can be added, but you need to be very careful: apart from burning your eyes, chilli can also burn tender plants and it can affect beneficial insects as well.
To make a general insecticide, Margie Frayne, herbalist and organic practitioner, suggests using the crushed flower heads of feverfew to repel caterpillars, flies and soft-bodied insects. She mixes together two teaspoons of the crushed flower heads with two litres of boiling water and half a teaspoon of Sunlight dishwashing liquid. After standing for 30 minutes, the mixture is strained and then ready for use. The spray is used repeatedly until it takes effect on the pests.
The information in this article was supplied by Healthy Living Herbs