Clever Gardening Ideas for Blouberg Properties
With spring being in the air, so too is the buzz of mosquitoes and other pests in the garden, but before you turn to a can of toxic insecticide, have a look at how you can grow your own natural pesticides on Blouberg properties.
These five plants will all naturally repel annoying insects:
African Wormwood (Artemisia Afra)
An indigenous Artemisia with strong smelling leaves that repels insects that can be grown from cuttings of up to 2m tall or from seedlings.
It isn’t fussy about the soil, enjoys full sun and the established shrub is bushy and drought resistant.
It should be cut back by two thirds in early spring to encourage new growth.
- Use it in spray (see end for recipe).
- Spread in between leaves of susceptible plants to ward off leaf-eating caterpillars.
- Leaves can be used as a mulch that will also repel insects.
Tansy (Tanacetum Vulgare L)
Tansy was once even used in embalming recipes because of its excellent insect repelling properties.
Another plant that will enjoy our full Blouberg sun, but be careful as it becomes quite invasive and grows into a bushy straggly looking plant. Keep cutting it back and pulling out new growth around the edges to prevent this.
- Fruit fly
- Use in a spray (recipe below).
- In borders and veggie beds or wherever needed; plant it in pots. Especially good for roses and fruit trees.
Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium)
Not as strong as the true pyrethrum plant, nevertheless it does still contain pyrethrins.
Another great plant for all properties in Bloubergstrand as it enjoys full sun and well-drained soil. It easily grows from seed and will even self-seed.
Keep deadheading flowers to keep it in full bloom. It may die back during very cold winters but will soon sprout again in spring.
- Fruit fly
- In a spray (recipe at the end).
- Also good under fruit trees and roses.
- Plant it in vegetable beds and borders.
- Grind up dried flowers into an insect-repellent powder.
Rhubarb (Rheum Rhabarbarum)
Rhubarb is a general insecticide as the leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid that both deters insects and prevents certain diseases such as club root (a fungal disease that affects the Brassica family).
The stronger the root system (or crown) of the plant, the more prolific the plant will be. Plant the crowns early in spring 10cm deep in compost enriched soil. Do not harvest them for the first year to ensure a well-established crown.
If looked after properly, they will flourish for many years.
Only used in a spray.
- 500g chopped rhubarb leaves
- 1l water
- 1tsp dishwashing liquid
Boil the leaves in the water for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool, then strain and mix in the dishwashing liquid.
Can be stored in a sealed bottle in the fridge for up to 2 weeks (don’t forget to label it). Transfer to a spray bottle as needed.
NB: The spray is broken down in sunlight so use only in the evening or on overcast days.
The leaves of the elder bush repel many insects and can be propagated from cuttings.
Seen on many properties throughout Blouberg, it enjoys full sun and well-drained soil.
It’s also very helpful to grow near a compost heap as the wide-spreading roots help to break down the compost.
- Use as a spray (see below).
- Also effective as an insect-repelling mulch.
- Dried leaves can be used as an ant or flea repellent.
Basic Insect Repelling Spray:
- ½ bucket leaves and stems of African wormwood, tansy, feverfew or elder
- Just-boiled water
- 2 tsp dishwashing liquid
Fill up the bucket with the just-boiled water, stir it and let it stand overnight.
Strain, then mix in the dishwashing liquid.
This insecticide breaks down very quickly so you will need to spray onto affected plants every few days. Be sure to spray underneath and on top of the leaves.
- This spray will keep for up to a month.
- Instead of discarding the strained leaves, add them to your compost heap.
- To make the spray even more effective, add finely chopped onion, garlic and chilli to just boiled water and plants.
- To get rid of wool eating moths dried leaves of elder, feverfew, tansy or African wormwood placed in single socks work very well. Just tie the tops closed and tuck them amongst your jerseys or woollens.
- You can use any of these plants combined or singly.
Also consider companion planting next to your herbs and vegetables, for example, plant sweet basil or marigolds next to tomatoes.