By Susan Stone
Keep an eye out for aphids on your crepe myrtles, roses and mandevillas. Keeping them well watered helps, but if those little suckers come calling simply whip up a batch of garlic soap water. It’s not much of a recipe. In a household spray bottle: Mix approx. 1 tbs. garlic juice, a few drops of cheap dish soap then fill with water and spray.
No-See-Ums can make you crazy. They love the same weather we do with temps between 60-80 degrees. Here is my favorite bug repellant. It’s non-toxic, it’s cheap and it works! 8-1 ratio; mix witch-hazel and cinnamon leaf oil (always test for sensitivity)
As the temperatures raise so do the weeds, here is a great non-toxic weed killer that really does the trick. Be careful not to spray on anything you really like. 1-gallon white vinegar, 1-cup pickling salt, 1-cup cheap dish soap; put in lawn sprayer and spray directly on weeds (Works great on poison ivy)
For whitefly and soft scale (its early, but they may be left over from last year); you can spray rubbing alcohol directly on the bugs undiluted. Or, a few drops of cheap dish soap and water.
It’s important to get a jump on damaging pests as soon as you see them arrive. Once they get a foothold, it’s tough to get control without using harsh chemicals. Soap is your best friend in the garden. Bug’s don’t like the taste of it any better than we did. Spray early in the day; Not only because the wind is usually calmer, but the sun is not so intense. Over-applying soap in the hot sun can burn the plants.
Don’t forget to treat for Fire Ants! This has amazing results! Here I quote Howard Garrett, The Dirt Doctor; “Dry or dried molasses is a soil building product made by spraying organic bits with liquid molasses. It is used to quickly stimulate microbes in the soil and give an indirect benefit of fertility. It also in many cases will run fire ants off the property. It should be used at 10-20 lbs. per 1000 sf.”
Please send your gardening wisdom and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are asking about a particular disease or pest; please include a photo if possible.