Bugs and garlic. Two counts of garlic

Something is eating my Tatsoi and Cos lettuce that I had planted before. The Tatsoi are quite new, bought seedlings at the same time I made my self-watering buckets, while I planted the Cos lettuce from seedlings a while ago. Actually they never thrived, and I got hardly anything to show for them, but it’s been fun so far.

In any case, I noted some bubbles and a bit of grayness on the Cos lettuce. Upon closer inspection there seemed to be little yellow things that look almost like the sand you find in your morning eyes… Also some tiny green bugs. Could they be Aphids? I also found the same things on one of the young Tatsoi plants.

On the advice of some friends, I started looking for garlic-based organic insecticides. I ended up buying some Ludwig’s Insect Spray +, which was the only thing fitting the bill available at the Stellenbosch Builder’s Warehouse Express. Picked it up over lunch today. It contains garlic, canola oil and Pyrethrin extracted from Chrysanthemum flowers.

Pyrethrin is aparently a potent insecticide, but deadly to fish and also not quite as benign to humans as garlic or canola oil. This means you should definitely not use this spray in your cooking when you run out of garlic! Once outside, it does however completely biodegrade within 2 days. Of course, the spray also smells strongly of garlic, but spraying it onto plants supposedly makes the smell go away quickly. We’ll see.

While applying the insecticide spray, I also noticed that my remaining Cos lettuce has decided to bolt after yielding a grand total of 8 leaves… Oh well. Could have been stress from the aphids. Could also be because I mixed in garden soil with the potting mix, resulting in poor aeration. Don’t think I’ll do that again!

Astute readers may note that I mentioned two counts of garlic. The second is a clove of store bought garlic that I planted in a self-watering 1l plastic milk bottle. Doing this just for shits and giggles. Aparently small self-watering pots made from drinks bottles are good for starting plants. I’ll write about the garlic seperately later though.

Building the self-watering milk bottle was quite simple. Used a 1l Darling milk bottle, you know, the milky-white semi-translucent squarish type milk bottle. Drilled a couple of 3mm holes in the lid, cut the bottle in half and stuck the top half lid-down into the bottom half. Voila, done :)

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