Farmgirl School

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -Tolkien

Yesterday, while lamenting the incredible overpopulation of destructive bugs, I posted a picture of the gardens with three adorable ducks sitting outside the closed kitchen garden gate, practically yelling, “Put me in, Coach!” They were employed this morning and have been doing a great job eating grasshoppers. I am afraid they take way too many breaks to go swimming. I think they will really help us out though.

While they attacked grasshoppers, I turned my attention to squash bugs. They are easy to catch with tongs and then drop into soapy water. Look on the undersides of the leaves for tiny red eggs and scrape them off. Spray the base of each plant with a 27 oz water bottle filled with a teaspoon of castile or dish soap and 15 drops of peppermint essential oil (thanks, cousin Janet!). It makes the little buggers come out so you can catch them and repels them from the plant (for awhile). Grasshoppers hate the spray too but they come right back and they are harder to catch. So, that is the ducks’ new job.

Sandia, Serrano, and Big Jim (named so because they love chili peppers!) save the potatoes from grasshoppers!

We always used to shrug and count on next year. We never proactively fought for our gardens. We didn’t have to. But these days are a little weird, y’all, as you may have noticed. Empty shelves, rioting, and social media craziness makes us homesteaders sit up and take notice. Might be a good idea to fight a little harder to feed ourselves. This is our first year on this particular homestead, and I know from experience that the third year of compost and growing is really the very best. So we will get there. We have come a long way on this little homestead in the past eleven months.

There’s no place like home.

4 thoughts on “Natural Insect Control (cont.) and Before and After Pics (so far)

  1. I only have ornamental gardens now, but I started using an organic insect repellent that is a combination of essential oils (rosemary oil, sesame oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil, cinnamon oil, garlic extract) and it has been a total game-changer for me as a gardener. I could not believe how well it worked. It’s way more effective than any chemicals on the market, and I don’t have to worry about our daughter or our dog playing in the garden (which they do all day long). And I live in Florida, where the bugs are legit. Added perk that applying it smells amazing too.

    I don’t personally buy into the atmosphere of Armageddon, but it was incredible how little time it took for supply chains to break in the most developed country in the world. That was definitely… instructive. A couple months ago, I was really missing the comfort of our old hobby farm and a cellar full of food. It does feel like our existence is a lot more fragile now than it was during our grandparents’ time, mostly because folks have become so dominated by negative emotions like greed and fear.

    1. Katie Lynn says:

      Ooh, what’s the name of the product? The ducks spend way too much time swimming and sleeping to be good pest control! Agree with every word you said. Good luck with this year’s garden!

      1. It’s Dr. Earth Final Stop, which they carry at Lowe’s. I don’t know how long it would last with vegetables, but I have only had to apply it a couple times in a row here.

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