Last week, I compiled a brief list of some things every gardener should keep around. This week, I’m going to talk about a less common remedy: a concoction for the garden itself.
Cayenne pepper, garlic and Murphy’s Oil Soap: Individually, these ingredients can do everything from zapping undesirable insects to getting the armadillos out of the corn patch to relieving that poison ivy. Combine them, however, and you got gypsy moth control.
First cayenne: cheaper than that fox and mountain lion urine now offered in home and garden centers everywhere and extremely effective for armadillo control. I simply muster up a mess of it (usually at the local Dollar General ), pour it into a shaker and dowse the perimeter of the yard itself and all gardens with it. This technique probably won’t work with bunnies and other critters, especially those which use sight to navigate the terrain. I usually end up merely tolerating them, besides which they’re much more interested in my weeds than my gardens.
&^%$##@& armadillos, however, are practically blind and have to root around to get around. So, if you dowse the perimeter of your yard and gardens with cayenne, they run smack dab into it and get a snoutful, which causes them to flee back to — to — well, to wherever.
And yes, I suppose I could just use milk spore to rid myself of the grubs. But other critters like the grubs. It’s just that the armadillos dig such annoying holes to get at them. Besides, the most effective way to control armadillos is to eliminate Redneck Dumps — which I was dealing with until the neighbors hauled off all the ancient refrigerators and water heaters and antique wringer washers and lord only knows what else just a few weeks ago. And mwalla! Like magic, the armadillos lost their tasty digs, their annoying holes have ceased, and it looks like they’ve hightailed it or become coyote dinner.
For gypsy moth control, combine a ton of cayenne — I mean, a ton — with some Murphy’s Oil soap (so it adheres to the little bastards) with lots and lots of pressed garlic and some water. Let sit over night, then find a sprayer you don’t mind clogging up. I’m relatively anal, so I spent a few days last year spraying each sucker individually, which means I also decimated their eggs.
And, yes, it works. I wasn’t sure it would, and I prepared myself for massive damage. And I did lose most of my echinacea (although they’re coming back their strongest ever this spring) and some other plants. But the infestation was apparently localized, a consequence of some kind of critter migration, perhaps, or maybe my butterfly gardening mania. And this concoction nipped it in the bud.
As for poison ivy, I included a recipe for poison ivy relief in the last installation of The Gardener’s Medicine Cabinet. If you get caught unawares, simply substitute cayenne for Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste, and you’re set.
More later. It’s time to mow.