If it’s not one pest, it’s another! The battle to have a healthy, productive garden is an ongoing thing here. But the benefits and rewards outweigh all the troubles…usually. Last week I could barely walk into my garden without being attacked by a cloud of mosquitoes. Not a fun experience…plus it makes it kind of hard to tend to the garden needs.
In the past, I’ve used a simple non chemical spray around the yard to keep their numbers down. But because we live in a neighborhood where abandoned pools are common…and the neighborhood is bordered on one side by a huge water filled canal or sink…the spray wasn’t a perfect solution. We just avoided going outside as much as possible. That of course makes caring for my garden and plants hard to do. This year I added 2 other things that have made all the difference! (Of course it is possible that the county has finally kept its word and dealt with the abandoned pools and canal. But I don’t have much hopes about that.)
Step 1 – Garlic!
Sounds almost too good to be true doesn’t it? But mosquitoes apparently hate the smell of garlic. The key is having a strong enough concentration. There’s a product that can be bought that’s just plug into the hose and spray kind of thing. But when have I ever done anything that easy…especially when it can be done for a lot cheaper on my own? What I do is just buy a big jar of minced garlic in oil…usually from Costco…and then I soak about half a cup in a gallon of water. Over night is best, but I have boiled it for a few minutes when I needed it sooner. I then strain out all the bits and put in a garden sprayer…with about another gallon of water…and spray all the areas the pesky mosquitoes like to hang out. Simple.
Step 2 – Catnip!
Apparently catnip works better then DEET on repelling mosquitoes. Go figure! We’ve worked hard on trying to reduce our dependency on chemicals…as much as possible. DEET is one of those things that I have hated using. There are other natural products out there…usually using citronella and lemon oil of some kind. I’ll be honest…I don’t think they work all that well. Plus the smell usually gives me a headache. I’d read about catnip a while ago, but filed it under “doubt”. Last week I pulled the memory out and because I had some catnip on hand this time (we thought the cats would like it…but they both seem to hate it)…and figured it couldn’t hurt giving it a try. So I steeped some, strained and then filled a hand sprayer. When I had to go out to brave the garden again, I sprayed myself liberally. Wow! I watched the mosquito cloud hover around me, but none of them wanted to land. After doing what I needed to, I found one mosquito bite…on my elbow…probably the one spot I didn’t spray well. Doubt gone!
Step 3 – Zap ’em!
I finally broke down and begged for a bug zapper. This one has a mosquito attractant. GadgetMan hung it out between the Nugget Yard and my garden. 2 days later I went out and no more mosquitoes. Even the dogs are able to come and go without being attacked. A week later, still no mosquitoes! In fact, Labor Day we spent most of the day out there. The only thing bothering us was the heat…and the pesky flies. Success!
Happy, happy! Joy, joy!
Spending time in my garden is fun again.
Now if I can just win the ant war!