Tim Warren, from Garnisha in Boreen Point, showed Matthew Hayden how to prevent pests from spoiling his garden with these natural remedies.
Multi-planting/companion planting is a practice that uses specific plants and herbs as an environmentally friendly pest control system. It keeps gardens healthy and promotes much-needed biodiversity.
Pest-repellent species work in two ways. Firstly, there are those that mask or repel insects with their strong scent, effectively acting as a force field that deflects pests and insects away from your prized plants. These include basil, sage, thyme, oregano and lavender.
Then there are plants that attract useful insects which prey on the destructive ones. Think elder, dill and aniseed-flavoured and scented fennel (also great to use as a wash on pets prone to fleas).
Nasturtiums closely resemble watercress. If planted around the base of fruit trees, nasturtiums deter codling moth, borers and woolly aphids.
Alternatively, if you plant them near vegetables they can strengthen their natural pest resistance.
You can also make an insect control spray by infusing nasturtium leaves in boiling water.
3 pest control tips from Garnisha
1. Turmeric is a great pest control plant. It’s very bright in colour, needs to be left in the ground for a year before it is picked and the smell keeps predators away.
2. Organic fertilisers like Searles Fish and Kelp Plus are great for citrus trees such as mango dwarf trees.
3. Spread trees and plants out so that nothing of the same species is grown too closely together; this decreases the chance of disease.
Common citrus problems include aphids and leaf miners on new growth, scale insects on old leaves, and black sooty mould on the fruit and foliage.
The good news is one organic remedy can control all these problems. Apply white oil to the whole tree, including the bark, once every three weeks for three months during spring. It blocks the breathing pores of insects, causing suffocation and rapid death.
To make concentrated white oil, add two cups of vegetable and half a cup of washing-up liquid to a jar and shake vigorously. Store in a cool, dry place. When you want to use it, dilute the formula with two teaspoons per litre of water. It should last about three months.