Gardeners Say the Darndest Things

You never know what kind of words of wisdom will fall from the lips of a gardener. A few years ago, if someone had told me that worms love watermelon, I would have given them a polite smile, a little nod, and moved away quickly. Unfortunately, now I’m the one saying these things.

The latest gem I heard was that slugs love marigolds. Huh? First, my mother-in-law asked me if I didn’t used to plant marigolds to ward off the slugs. All I could say was that I didn’t remember. Then the next day at the hardware store, the lady in the garden center told me that “slugs love marigolds” and to just plant a few patches near my bean to lure them away. Wow, twice in the same number of days; I’d have to give this a try.

So I spent $8–an unheard of amount–buying bean starts, since my beans just get eaten as soon as they sprout. And I bought two clumps of marigolds to see what would happen.

These lovely beauties were going to defend my beans against nasty, slimy slugs?

Early July 005 Early July 007


Well, even with a heavy sprinkling of Sluggo, the marigold next to the beans is making a feast for some ugly creatures that leaves a trail of goo.

Eating Marigolds

If that’s the price I have to pay to have beans twining up the lattice to the chain link, it’s well worth the price. For whatever reason, the slugs have left the other clump of flowers alone. At least I have something pretty to look at in the midst of bolting broccoli and lettuce.

Early July 007


Now I can’t blame everything on the slugs. Last night as I was inspecting the orchard, I noticed something has been eating the leaves on my new plum tree. No worries–I was at knitting group a few weeks back where we solve the problems of the world.

My friend Judi has had great success with a homemade insecticide. I was hesitant to use it since the main ingredients is garlic and Sweet Miss breaks out in hives when she eats garlic, but then I go to thinking. While it would be a bad idea on broccoli or lettuce, I’ve never seen her nibble on a plum tree. She’ll eat the fruit for sure, but the tree itself is safe.

So this afternoon, I’m mixing up a batch of insecticide to see if I can’t get rid of a few pests. Here’s Judi’s insecticide recipe in case bugs are getting to you, too.


Judi’s Homemade Insecticide

3 ounces of finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons of mineral oil
1/4 ounce of oil-based liquid soap (such as Palmolive)

Soak the garlic in mineral oil for 24 hours or longer.

Then slowly add a pint of water in which the soap has been dissolved. Stir well.

Strain the liquid and store it in a glass or plastic container (not metal).

This homemade insecticide is highly concentrated. For the first application use it in a dilution of one part garlic insecticide to 20 parts of water. After the first application use one part garlic brew to 100 parts water. Use a spray bottle to apply to plants. This formula will kill pests but will not harm your pets.

Researchers have found that garlic makes an effective, safe, and cheap insecticide. In studies, garlic insecticide killed up to 95% of common pests such as mosquitoes, slugs, crickets, houseflies, and weevils.

Well goodness, I don’t know what is eating my plum tree, but I hope this does the trick.

Have any gardening advice that’s just crazy enough to work? 



2 thoughts on “Gardeners Say the Darndest Things

  1. Good for you with the marigolds salad for the slugs. Also, beer in a cottage cheese container berried in the dirt gives them a deadly drink as well. Now, wince you have the dogs keeping you company in the garden, put a smallish hole in the top of the beer cocktail container, the slugs climb in, but cannot get out.

  2. Pingback: A Look Back at July ’14 | big white house on the hill

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