bug repellent

So, we can’t absolutely say that this one works, but then again we can’t say it doesn’t, either.  In a world where bugs the size of pinheads can destroy an entire patch of winter squash, turn cucumber vine leaves to brown lace, or eat potato plants down to mushy green stems, we’re willing to do a lot to discourage bugs, even if a lot of a lot doesn’t really work.

This method was recommended to us by a friend from Wisconsin, who remembers it as a trick her grandmother, born in the early decades of the last century, used to repel cabbage loopers, those little green caterpillars that leave caterpillar poo all over your cabbages.  It seems the good lady saved the water in which she had defrosted meat, or the (let’s call it what it is) blood on the meat platter, diluted it in a couple of gallons of water, and let it get good and stinky.  Then she poured it on the vegetables she was trying to save from the bugs.  The idea, as our friend understands it, was to make the plant smell like something other than what it was; smell like carrion, in fact.  We’ve tried it.  Just a little meat juice in water can get remarkably foul-smelling if left to sit a couple of days in hot weather.   Don’t know if it really fools the loopers, but we’ve never had such beautiful cabbages.  We sprayed it on our winter squash, too, half of which had already succumbed to bacterial wilt, and the wilt seems to have run its course, but since it’s supposed to take a couple of weeks for bacterial wilt to kill a plant, such results are totally inconclusive.  We like the idea, though.  We don’t suppose it can hurt; it might even be a homeopathic dose of foliar fertilizer, as well.


6 thoughts on “bug repellent

  1. That’s a new one! Our nettle brew seems to do the trick for us , probably for much the same reason, it smells! Chopped up nettle topped with water and left to brew for a while makes a pungent potion which we then dilute with water about 5-1 as an insect repellent and 10-1 makes a good tomato feed. The remaining mash is also a hell of a compost activator.

    1. Especially good against black fly, but you must repeat spray early in the season.
      Any spare nettles also go into the boiler for pig feed, they seem to like them. (an old Polish frugal pig keeping lore tip)
      I even made beer from nettles a few years ago, must try again….I have just run out 🙂

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