Permies likes organic and the farmer likes Organic insecticide? permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


(the sound is wonky for the first 20 seconds)

daily-ish email

micro heaters

rocket mass heater

wofati

permies » forums » growies » organic
Bookmark "Organic insecticide?" Watch "Organic insecticide?" New topic
Author

Organic insecticide?

Annah Rachel


Joined: Aug 28, 2011
Posts: 112
My lettuce looks like it's being eaten. Is there something I can make to keep the insects away? I've read that insects only eat unhealthy plants, so maybe my plants are just unhealthy? =/
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3464
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  63
Is it being eaten to the extent that it's harming the plants? I find lettuce can handle a fair amount of damage.
Try and ID the eater. Big holes? Small? Poos? Slime trails? Caught an actual critter?
I'd be very, very wary of using anything that's designed to kill stuff. 'Organic' is not an indicator of safety.
Annah Rachel


Joined: Aug 28, 2011
Posts: 112
Leila Rich wrote:Is it being eaten to the extent that it's harming the plants? I find lettuce can handle a fair amount of damage.
Try and ID the eater. Big holes? Small? Poos? Slime trails? Caught an actual critter?
I'd be very, very wary of using anything that's designed to kill stuff. 'Organic' is not an indicator of safety.


Sorry, I just meant something to keep the insects away, not kill them. I was thinking maybe there was something I could use like using vinegar for weeds, ya know? Nothing harmful. The holes are pretty big, but I guess they're not harming the plants...yet.
Ray Cover


Joined: Apr 11, 2012
Posts: 132
Location: Missouri
Thanks for this question Annah.

My main culprit most years on my apple tree and veggie garden are aphids. IS there a good organic solution for aphids?

Thanks,

Ray
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3464
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  63

I agree that healthy soil/healthy plants=few problems, but things that are important for soil/plants like mulch and lots of soil organic matter, in my climate make slugs and snails really happy and I have to keep on top of the population.
When I first started my garden, I had aphids and shield bugs, but I never see aphds anymore and I know that juvenile shield bugs are NOT ladybugs and must die!
I think aphids are a really good indicator of stressed plants. I've seen a big, healthy cabbage with none at all and right next door a stunted specimen covered in aphids. The stunted plant pretty much always has an underdeveloped root system.
Lack of water's a major stressor and a good mulch really helps.
Ray, are they just 'standard' aphids on your trees? I've only ever seen trees with wooly aphids. Aside from the "enough water, mulch and healthy soil" thing, aphids are eay to get knock off the plant with a strong jet of water, apparently they don't climb back up.
Annah Rachel


Joined: Aug 28, 2011
Posts: 112
Leila Rich wrote:
I agree that healthy soil/healthy plants=few problems, but things that are important for soil/plants like mulch and lots of soil organic matter, in my climate make slugs and snails really happy and I have to keep on top of the population.
When I first started my garden, I had aphids and shield bugs, but I never see aphds anymore and I know that juvenile shield bugs are NOT ladybugs and must die!
I think aphids are a really good indicator of stressed plants. I've seen a big, healthy cabbage with none at all and right next door a stunted specimen covered in aphids. The stunted plant pretty much always has an underdeveloped root system.
Lack of water's a major stressor and a good mulch really helps.
Ray, are they just 'standard' aphids on your trees? I've only ever seen trees with wooly aphids. Aside from the "enough water, mulch and healthy soil" thing, aphids are eay to get knock off the plant with a strong jet of water, apparently they don't climb back up.


How do you get rid of your slugs??

I'm thinking about getting some diatomaceous earth. . . .
Ray Cover


Joined: Apr 11, 2012
Posts: 132
Location: Missouri
I planted the apple tree last year and a few weeks after I planted it I noticed the little green aphids on it. Being its first year in the ground here stress may very well have been an issue. It looks great right now and is clear of bugs so far this year. But in the past I usually didn't see the aphids until the real heat of summer comes on.

This is the first year I have planted a garden for a few years. In the past I have used things like the spray on miracle grow as a fertilizer, etc. This time around I am trying to grow organic. I built beds with re purposed lumber and worked compost and composted manure into the topsoil for fertilizer on this years garden. So far I have not had aphids but we are still early in the year. Hopefully, I will get it right this time around and maybe I won't have those problems. I have mulched my berry bushes and trees but I have never mulched my veggie gardens. Should I treat that like the trees or is there a different method?

My goal is to set up a suburban homestead on my one acre lot. I'm trying to give it a go via the organic route because I have come to beleive a lot of the health problems our modern society has is due to all the chemicals we take in.

Ray
Saybian Morgan
volunteer

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 580
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
    
    7
I tried to respond to this earlier from my cellphone at work but the brevity would have gotten the comment ignored.

Tobacco tea works pretty well, it was always used on tobacco and other plants till the value of smoking went through the roof. Nobody can afford to use cigarets as an insecticide but raw pipe tobacco can be procured.
I smoke organic kentuky select and I have 5 pounds of it, so using a half cup steeped in a half gallon of water isn't a big deal. I made a terrible mistake with our potting soil and bread flies by the 100 thousands in the greenhouse till even the door outside was blocked with flies. 15 mins after a spray of chilled tobacco tea things are back to normal. I can't remember exactly but I think it's the nervous system it wreaks havoc with and it doesn't harm plants at those dilutions. It doesn't work on slugs, but on another forum we found out stun guns do wonders with slugs.
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3464
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  63
Annah, I do lots of hand-picking and in the late autumn when they get really bad, I use DE. (it's useless once it's been wet, so I put it under little makeshift roofs)
I've tried beer. Waste of perfectly good alcohol
All those sharp things people recommend...*meh*.
Ray, I mulch like mad, everywhere. Well not everywhere, root veg seeds go in unmulched areas. Aside from stopping evaporation and moderating soil temperatures, it stops weeds from germinating. While some people are very happy to have weeds in the garden, my main weed is grass and there's no way I'm letting that stuff grow anywhere!
Woody plants love a fungally-dominated environment and chipped tree mulch is about as fungal as it gets. It's around all my perennials and trees.
I use whatever I can find on my vege gardens (but not chip as the high carbon can cause prblems if dug into the soil) It's usually a mix of lawn clippings I have delivered, since I have no grass, comfrey leaves, my neighbour's garden waste etc. I've used pea straw, but it's expensive and I don't like buying something when I can get the same result for free...
Ray Cover


Joined: Apr 11, 2012
Posts: 132
Location: Missouri
Thanks Leila.

I have plenty of grass clippings but I was worried about it making the raised be to hot in the summer. It just seemed to me that the grass clippings would mat down and make an impermeable barrier once they got wet, not letting water in or heat out. How thick should I put the grass clippings on?

I don't understand the wood chip carbon issue thing. I have never heard of that. While I have grown many gardens over the years I am very new to organic gardening. Is there a good article out there so I can educated myself? I have Paul Stamets book "Growing Gourmet and Medical Mushrooms" and he uses wood chip mulch on his garden to create a symbiotic relationship between mushroom mycilium (sp?) and the vegetable plants. I had thought of trying this next year.

Ray

BTW, thanks for the tobacco tea idea. I too am a pipe smoker and I have a few 3/4 pouches here of drug store tobacco that I don't particularly like. I will give that a try.


Andrew Kay


Joined: Apr 25, 2012
Posts: 31
soak one cup of chopped lavendar flowers in 1L of water for 24 hours and apply as foliar spray. Lavendar leaves and rosemary work too, but require more material.

dont soak for longer, this isnt a fermentation.

consider adding a blob of aloe or drop of organic liquid soap as a surfactant.
wayne stephen
steward

Joined: Mar 11, 2012
Posts: 1176
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
    
  45
I sprayed tobacco tea on apple tree one year and looked down at writhing , screaming earthworms. Poor little buggers.Aphids - Hose them off or a little organic soap in water. Ants will farm them and carry them away - plant sunflowers near by. Mostly we have found that the plant was unhealthy , or in the wrong place. Bugs will take their share but if you foster predatory species it will balance out. Stun guns ? Now that sounds like a story on its own!


Permaculture is CPR for the planet !


Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5320
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Remember that insecticides such as tobacco are going to kill the good guys along with the bad, so if you use them your system might never come into balance. Personally I think it's best to bite the bullet and suffer through a few bad years while the soil improves. Aphids can be hosed off with a jet of plain water, as can many other critters. I completely avoid any kind of "cides" in the garden, because I want life there.


Idle dreamer

Saybian Morgan
volunteer

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 580
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
    
    7
I would agree with the tobacco assessment I wouldn't spray it on the soil itself, I used it on the greenhouse roof. if something is swarming a plant you can use it in a localized application but don't feed it to the earth.
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3464
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  63
Ray, I've never found grass clippings heat up at mulching depth (10-15cm) and because they absorb the sun's rays, really moderate temperature swings.My worms at the surface under the mulch in summer, rather than escaping down deep.
There's definitely potential for clippings matting. One way to avoid it is to spread and dry them a bit on the drive or something. It's also important to fluff the mulch layer up a couple of times once it's laid. I've found by far the best way to avoid matting is to use a variety of things, especially different sizes.

The carbon thing is pretty confusing. I'll give it a go, but I'm not very sciency!
As soon as any organic matter touches the soil, the soil microorganisms start work on it. So if the mulch is basically lying on top of the soil, the 'soil nitrogen/carbon interface' is minimal, but if it ends up IN the soil, it's...not.
Soil beasties need plenty of nitrogen to break down carbon, and high-carbon things like wood need a lot.
If the carbon is in the soil, nitrogen will be drawn from the soil.
While the initial ratios will be restored once the process is complete, while they're doing the work, they'll use any nitrogen they can find.
Hopefully that helps, rather than just confusing things
And apologies people, I've taken this thread way off-topic, although I'd argue that a good mulch will do a great deal to avoid the need for 'cides.
Ray Cover


Joined: Apr 11, 2012
Posts: 132
Location: Missouri
Thank you so much for the info.

Ray
Mary James


Joined: Mar 18, 2011
Posts: 136
Location: NW MT zone 4/5
    
    1
Annah,
In order to really make suggestions one needs to know the culprit or culprits.. as has been suggested.

Here at our place we use quite a few different organic techniques to deal with the bugs problems, bringing in predators, sprays, combination planting, planting preferred plants to lead them away etc..

At some point in time every gardener has to make the choice of whether to kill the bugs if they cannot be diverted elsewhere, learn to grow in a different manner other wise out smarting them, or settling into some type of routine to manage them which will probably include killing some..If you have slugs well check out the other threads here on permies about them.They can be highly destructive with food crops and you will not want to be saving every one of them,,LOL DE is only one of the suggestions out there check out the other threads so you can read about many methods that work to a point..We deal with them here and have to plant in a much different manner if we want to enjoy the fruits of the garden...

Ray,
The aphids on the trees are pretty simple to handle most the time a few good water shots will take care of them with out spraying anything.Here at the Happy house we use Lady bugs,, Lady bugs love aphids and will clean them up quickly.If you plant host plants for them you will find that the aphid problems completely disappear....
Personally I only use the tobacco for the hard case problems.It is a potent insecticide which can kill not just the bugs but if over used the plants as well.I grow my own tobacco for this so I know where it comes from..
However when I teach classes and someone wants the recipe for a quick and easy one I tell them one tablespoon of castile soap to a gallon of water will usually take care of aphids easily if they really need to add any tobacco I suggest only one teaspoon of canned snuff or chew in a tea bag over night.Try it with out the tobacco you could be surprised..
The lavender/rosemary(suggested by Andrew) works very well as does using soapwort(200 grams leaf to 1 cup water)When making either of them I take the plant materials toss them in the blender with the water process it then let sit overnight.Next morning I filter out the plant material add a few drops of a liquid dish soap, to help it stick and then spray it .Also a word of warning it is better to not spray in the heat of the day or on some of the really sunny days..
However onward, usually if one has aphids they will also find the ants who are farming them out as well.You may want to take a looksy around and see if there are also ants.Ants run aphids like farmers do cows, they place them out on plants and basically milk them for the bi-product.....
Good luck to both of you with your plantings and bug challenges...
Mary


of the
Happy House
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5837
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
  87
The water spray is effective in getting aphids off of your plants, but they will return in moments.

I have used fireplace (or BBQ) ashes dusted on the plants. Within seconds, they are all dead.
I then hose their corpses off to feed all of the creatures in the soil.

Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 893
    
  17
Ducks will solve your problem. They'll eat all the insects, slugs... and the lettuce.
Thelma McGowan


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
    
    2
I make a tea too...but it is more like a repelant........I make a tea with hot pepper flakes and dislove a small chunks of ivory soap in water so it is liquid. Mix the pepper tea and the soap liquid and spray. I used this on my cabages and lettuces etc....it keeps the slugs and critters away. I was able to keep my cabbages fairly pest free and the lettuce actually got a chance to grow up. I also sprayed my tomatoes when they got some little black aphid things and it seemed to work. you do have to respray after rain and every 2-3 days...it doesn't hurt the plants

Slugs hate the spray!


There are no experts, Just people with more experience.
Mary James


Joined: Mar 18, 2011
Posts: 136
Location: NW MT zone 4/5
    
    1
LOL, my slugs must be pepper heads,,,Habenero spray seems to be a seasoning for them on the greens,,
On the flip side the deer are not fond of it,,,Hopefully with so many suggestions others will find something that works for them...
Annah Rachel


Joined: Aug 28, 2011
Posts: 112
Thelma McGowan wrote:I make a tea too...but it is more like a repelant........I make a tea with hot pepper flakes and dislove a small chunks of ivory soap in water so it is liquid. Mix the pepper tea and the soap liquid and spray. I used this on my cabages and lettuces etc....it keeps the slugs and critters away. I was able to keep my cabbages fairly pest free and the lettuce actually got a chance to grow up. I also sprayed my tomatoes when they got some little black aphid things and it seemed to work. you do have to respray after rain and every 2-3 days...it doesn't hurt the plants

Slugs hate the spray!


Oh cool! What exactly is in the spray? Could you tell me how to make it?
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
 
subject: Organic insecticide?
 
Similar Threads
what is permaculture?
Permaculture Biological Warfare
Lead contaminated soil and wildlife
Question about feeding times for chickens
Insect trap - permaculture/aquaculture
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books