Friday, March 16, 2012

Easy Aphid (and more) Killer

Easy Aphid (and more) Killer

I have many, many houseplants. I read an article once about how many houseplants one should have per square foot in the house, “allow one houseplant per 100 square feet of living area” says

Turns out I have over ten times that many and my air is fresh, humidified from misting my plants and smells great with my geraniums. They filter my south facing windows in the summer and keep my room cool and trap the cold air in the winter. My plants are varied (although I certainly need more, more! MORE!) and healthy. I mix all my own soil, combing dirt, composted rabbit poo, peat moss straight from my wetlands and whatever else catches my fancy that day, usually the inside of a rotting log. My worm bin keeps my soil tilled for a lifetime with merely 1-3 worms per pot to munch on those rotting log chunks.

OK, back to the bugs. Those horrible leaf munching, stem cutting, multi legged freaks! Hopping around my soil and turning my plants into sad spot and web covered statues slowly withering away. I have this one very tall (5’) plant. Believe me, I’m horrible at names and that includes my plants but it’s definitely something from the Dracaena genus.

Anyhoo, I got this plant free from Craigslist. It had been sitting outside all summer and came complete with pot-bound roots infested with root eating hoppy-somethings. As well as little green monsters that continued to call this plant’s long leaves home while I searched for organic answers. I tried garlic, milk, and lots and LOTS of water which turned into this poor plant living in my shady shower for a week so I could bath it each day… but to no avail, they were too smart for me, slinky deep into the pits where new leaves should arise from or hiding under the new bud I had missed.

Woah was me. I threatened to leave the plant outside in the snow to die. That is until my boyfriend ordered a free copy of a product catalog he had not received for years, Worm’s Way. After reading through so many organic insecticide options I found one containing orange peel extract. The description says that orange peel extract will kill insects when applied directly by destroying a wax coating on their respiratory system (sounds like the inert ingredients in Roundup). Mwahaha

Bug Killing Orange Spray Recipe: oil, orange peel, water!

So I had oranges, they had peels and I was determined. Guess what, no more aphids and the leaves are polished and healthy! So here’s what I do.

1.  I cut my oranges in 8 slices and eat them, then remove the pith with a paring knife. Not like when making candied peels, remove all the pith until you can see little dots of bright orange.

2.  I put the peels in a pan with a bit of vegetable oil, probably not more than 2TBs and enough water to cover them. Heat it up a bit, it will make popping noises. I do this hoping the orange will really fuse with the oil.

3.  Then add water, I add about one cup of water per the one orange because I have a small spray bottle. I don’t think the mixture even needs to be this strong, experiment.

4.  Remove the peel, cool and spray directly on the plant and bugs.

Problem solved.

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