Organic Bug Control

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Powdery mildew is always about in the air, not in the soil, so you don't need to worry about that.You don't need to get rid of affected plants - even if they are shrivelled back to nothing, the roots will be fine and they should grow again. Next time you notice powdery mildew, make up a solution of 1 part milk to 9 parts water in a spray bottle and spray thoroughly until run off, under the leaves and on top if possible. You could try it later, but it may not do much if the plants are seriously affected.

Ants: NB Ants are only a problem if they are near or nesting in areas where people want to relax. They are helpful to the gardener by taking flesh covered seeds back to their own nest where the flesh is fed to the young. The seeds are then returned to the garden ready to grow on. 

Sprinkle powdered red chili pepper, paprika, cinnamon or dried peppermint around the plants or areas you do not want ants to cross.

Pour boiling water into the entrance of an ant colony early in the morning after a rainy night.
Sprinkle small amounts of vinegar around plants that are affected by ants.
Sprinkle salt between the bricks and tiles of your patio or walkway to keep ants at bay. (Avoid sprinkling it around your plants.)

Aphids:Tiny soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects that may be green, yellow, black, gray or pink, aphids multiply like crazy and
do can a lot of damage in a hurry. They show up on new shoots, crowns and undersides of leaves on fruit and vegetable plants, ornamentals, flowers and shade trees. Aphids have long antennae and have two short tubes that project backward from the tip of their abdomens. Some types have long transparent wings that they hold over their backs. Aphids remove a plant’s sap, and symptoms of an infestation are yellowish spots, curled leaves or glossy, sticky leaves. In addition, a sooty mold that hampers photosynthesis may develop on leaves.
A natural remedy: Combine the grated rind of one lemon or orange with one pint boiling water. Let the solution steep overnight, before spraying the solution thoroughly on leaves and undersides of leaves. Reapply every four to seven days as needed.

Cutter Bees:
Garlic is a gardeners best friend. To make your own Garlic Barrier. Buy the cheapest garlic you can find. Liquidise it with just enough water to make a slurry. Pour it into muslin and let it soak for a day or so. Next hang it over a basin (as you would if making jelly) and let it drain. Press out as much juice as possible. Use it diluted in a sprayer, a little goes a long way. It is the only thing that will work for cutter bees. They are the bees that cut notches in your rose leaves and wrap the leaves up and glue them so that they can lay their eggs in there. They definitely do not like it and though they can't be killed, they will avoid anything to which it has been applied. It also works as a general insect deterrant. It does not hurt. Use it on all plants "just in case".

Earwigs: A good earwig trap can be made by using a tuna fish can with a little tuna or a small amount of cat food in it, add any cooking/ corn oil to about 1/2" and place it buried to the lip in the affected area. Cover with a slate leaving a gap for the earwigs to gain access. The
earwigs are attracted to the fish odor and suffocate in the oil. 
Earwigs feed on decomposing plants and wet leaves. They can infest your flower beds and garden. Roll up sheets of newspaper and wet it . Place around your garden. Next day gather up and dispose of the lot.
If they invade your dahlias use an upturned flower pot on a cane. The earwigs will crawl in there and again can be disposed of easily.   

Slugs and snails: These creatures feed at night, preferring damp conditions. Although they move along the ground, they can climb up your plants and consume tender new growth and seedlings. You may spot them in the early mornings or late evenings or notice their glistening, slimy trails on some hard surfaces. Slugs and snails tend to hide in damp, shaded areas. You can make your garden less inviting to them by removing weeds and any other debris and by watering in the morning rather than at night.
As an alternative to insecticides: Slugs and snails are attracted to beer. You can trap them in shallow pans set throughout your garden. Try burying several empty tuna or cat food cans up to the rim and then filling them with beer. At night, the creatures will crawl into the beer and drown. You can throw out the cans in the morning and replace them.
Another option: Place a wooden board or two in your garden. In the morning, you will find snails and slugs that have taken refuge there overnight. You can simply scrape them off and dispose of them. A big covered plastic tub with some diluted bleach seems to kill them quickly. 
NB Do not throw them in to next doors garden. They will be back by morning. Recent research has shown that they have a strong homing instinct. 

Suntrap Gardening Club meet at 7.15pm in the Common Room at  

Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled 21 Ravelrig Gait Balerno Edinburgh EH14 7NH

Details on getting there are on

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