Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Operation Red Hot Chili Pepper: organic pesticide fight back!

Operation Red Hot Chili Pepper is in full swing on WTA after waves of marauding caterpillars marched into town and began laying brassica crops, including my Romanescu broccoli (see above pic), to waste. These Romanescu were under horticultural fleece but I obviously hadn't sealed the cloche properly allowing some bloody devious cabbage white butterflies a way in. The rest, as the say, 'is history'. Artisan Tracie reckons some organic gardeners often need a 'sacrifice' crop - a crop you let pests eat so they (in theory) eat less of your other crops - so I suppose this is my yearly sacrifice. In the mean time, I wanted to save the rest of my calabrese, sprouting broccoli, sprout and kale crops from devastation so it was time to spray - organic and home made spray of course! I used the following general organic pesticide recipe adopted from an ABC TV, Gardening Australia formulation (see links) to strike back and strike back hard! I love the smell of chili, onion and garlic in the morning! It smells like...victory!

Organic Pesticide Recipe

4 Red hot chillies
2 Cloves of garlic
4 Onions (red or white)
2 tblspns of eco-friendly washing up liquid

Brewing Up!
Chop up chillies, garlic and onions and place in a medium sized mixing bowl...

Add two tablespoons of an eco/enviro-brand dish washing liquid.

Pour in water so it just covers the contents of the bowl and then stir.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm and then set aside for 24 hours.

The following day pour the contents of the bowl through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid.
Discard the onions, chillies and garlic.

Dilute the reserved liquid in 5 litres of water...

Organic, effective... red hot!
I've use an old, clean, hand pump sprayer to deliver the fiery liquid, which I've been doing most mornings and again in the evening. The results have been impressive... the caterpillars definitely don't like it up em! But I've needed to consistently apply the spray to keep on top of newly hatching 'pillars, whose eggs I haven't managed to squash in the mean time...

Without the good old 'Red Hot Chili Pepper' spray I'm fairly sure things like the brassicas pictured above would now be little more than skeletal stalks.

Missing..presumed having a good time

Johnny Bridgemeister's absence has been noted on WTA. He's yet to make one of his several annual pilgrimages to WTA this year to carry out his fierce attack on all manner of weeds and nettles. Perhaps his failure to show can be put down to him starting up his own blog: where he and the crowd primordial archetypes he writes and runs with reflect on the more quirky side of the game of bridge. The Bridgmeister's site is already garnering some impressive reviews amongst the on-line bridge world and building a sizeable and dedicated following in the UK and abroad.

DIY queen and vege chef Sandy has also been fairly quiet lately. This vegetarian cordon blue has also been much missed on WTA and needs to get on that two wheeled stallion of hers and get up here quick!

In the meantime...protect your crops and grow well!

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