25 November 2007

Low-cost, Pet and Child Friendly, Chemical Free Pesticides

We all want low-cost as well as pet and child friendly solutions to gardening dilemmas.

Chemical-free pesticides are also the territory of all gardeners who are trying to be good stewards of the earth.

In "Designing with Succulents", Debra Baldwin recommends using a spray of diluted rubbing alcohol to cure plants of sucking insects such as aphids and mites.

On the Aroid-L discussion there have been several suggestions for dealing with fungi this weekend.

Ground cinnamon is recommended as a natural fungicide for use on tubers and roots that have been cut or dug up for winter storage. In addition, orchids, aroids, agave and other plant roots benefit from a thick cinnamon coating while damp.

Used on succulent cuttings, it is said to speed up the callus production which is important. And, if the root of a plant has begun to rot, remove the affected portion and cover the cleaned root with cinnamon to use it as a fungicide. The injured roots have to be dampened to make the cinnamon stick.

A coating of cinnamon powder also keeps ants away since ants will not cross a trail of cinnamon. If they invade a potted plant, dust it with cinnamon.

Another experienced gardener suggested soaking plant roots in 3% hydrogen peroxide, allowing them to air dry, then dusting roots with Comet or Ajax.

Cinnamon powder can also be used as a natural fungicide to prevent damping-off in seedlings. Weak chamomile tea, used at room temperature is another natural fungicide.

Many other natural remedies for plants are described at First Rays' Home Remedies. If you know of other non-toxic remedies that have worked for you, let us know.

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