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Old Dishwater and Homemade Insecticides

By Sharon
April 15, 2012

I don't ingest harmful chemicals, I don't give them to my family or my cats and I certainly don't want them near my plants or in my soil. So what should I do about those slugs, meal worms, spider mites, cabbage worms and Japanese beetles that insist on destroying my flowers and vegetables? Simple, really. I just do what my grandmother did; I save my old dishwater.

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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Apr 15, 2012 4:29 AM CST
The minute I read your title, it brought a memory of my grandmother pouring her dishwater, from an enamel pan, on to her garden plants. WOW - I had forgotten that!

I LOVE homemade remedies for my garden!

Thank you Sharon - for all these "recipes" Hurray!
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
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Onewish1
Apr 15, 2012 5:10 AM CST
such great info.. and always .. an enjoyable read!!!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Apr 15, 2012 8:44 AM CST
And one memory triggers another, right Vic? Our grandmothers did have their ways of recycling, I think, no matter what they called it.

Thanks, Ladies.
Allison, I just remembered that sometimes I add a splash of white vinegar to the Japanese beetle concoction, particularly if they are covering my roses! I don't know if it makes a bit of difference, but I feel that it does.
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Name: Brenda
Dolores, Colorado
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bsavage
Apr 15, 2012 9:13 AM CST
Another great artcile, Sharon! Thanks for the recipes!
Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
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canadanna
Apr 15, 2012 9:22 AM CST
So well written and timely! Thanks for the recipes.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Apr 15, 2012 9:29 AM CST
Thanks! I hope the recipes help.
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Apr 15, 2012 3:56 PM CST
Loved the article Sharon, it brought back memories of my grandmother and her enameled dishpan also.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Apr 15, 2012 3:58 PM CST
Oh my gosh, Margaret, there you are up in a tree. Seems the last time I looked you were on the roof!
Goodness! You be careful up there.

Thanks about the article, I'm glad it reminded you of good memories.
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Apr 15, 2012 4:01 PM CST
Not to worry Sharon, I am a cautious person. Big Grin

Your welcome. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Apr 15, 2012 4:04 PM CST
Good to know.
I guess I can breathe again now. Green Grin!
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Apr 15, 2012 4:09 PM CST
Hilarious!
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
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MaryE
Apr 15, 2012 5:17 PM CST
I wonder if some dishwater concoction would work for those soft velvety cabbage worms that are just the color of the cabbage leaves. Any experience with that?
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Apr 15, 2012 5:28 PM CST
Green fuzzies.
I haven't grown cabbage in a long time, Mary, so I'm not sure about them, but I do know what you're talking about. Whenever I'm in doubt, I start with the garlic/onion tea, and progress to her super duper horse radish/spearmint mix if the first doesn't work. A little salt seems to work on worms too usually.

I measured then, I don't measure anymore, but I do know that the JBeetles are the hardest to get rid of and that horse radish tea works on them. Mostly I use it on everything actually. I doubt the mix would hurt the cabbage.
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Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
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MaryE
Apr 15, 2012 8:33 PM CST
Sounds like a plan. Thanks!
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Name: Donna Yates
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HappyJackMom
Apr 16, 2012 12:49 AM CST
When you wrote about cutting up the horseradish, more of my old memories popped into my mind. I can still see Grandpa, standing at our kitchen sink cutting up horseradish and putting it in the grinder and had me turn the handle. We both would have tears streaming down our faces and burning eyes. But he made the best horseradish sauce to put on meats for our sandwiches.

Great article! Hurray!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Apr 16, 2012 6:18 AM CST
Thanks Donna.

The grinder. That thing had a life of its own and it terrified me. You know how it had to be attached to the edge of a table and sometimes it came loose? Whoever was grinding had hold of only the handle and that thing was heavy! I can see it now, writhing to the floor with little pork sausage worms all in a row coming out of its insides. And somebody was still hanging on to the handle calling for help as it made its way to the floor, leaving behind little wormy tendrils as it fell.

I never did get assigned the job of the grinder handle turner. Thankful about that Smiling
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Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia (Zone 7a)
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Lance
Apr 16, 2012 7:41 AM CST
Another wonderfully informative article, thanks for sharing. Before the advent of modern chemical warfare, people were able to grow all sorts of food. It is certainly past time to get back to some of those older ways of doing things, saving not only our world around us but ourselves, as well. My problem seems to be finding the time to do much more than plant, though, so most plants in my garden are on their own once I get them in. For most that works well, and those that don't make it are rarely planted again unless there is something special about them.
My break is over, now back to preparations. Tomorrow is a big day with my defense, finally.
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Apr 16, 2012 8:00 AM CST
How right you are, Lance: '. . . saving not only our world around us but ourselves as well.'
I hope we all come to that realization.

Good luck tomorrow with your dissertation! Seems to have been a long time coming and I know you are anxious to get it all behind you.

Thanks for reading the article. Hello to Skye, too.
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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Apr 16, 2012 9:30 AM CST
" I think my tears might have been the secret ingredient."

Heheheh, well, maybe they added the perfect amount of salt, eh, Sharon? And Special Salt is what Ninna needed.

I still use similar concoctions. Still coming up with even more to try each year. Nice of you to share your recipes. Thanks!

I'm another "I watched Grandma" person, too. I think some of the prettiest flowers came from Grandmothers who shared the dishwater with them. I've read that in those days the soaps contained quite a bit of potassium and no doubt about it that contributed to helping plants flower as well as their overall health. Nowadays, as you've mentioned above, Sharon, detergents are usually a bit too harsh for plants and I believe they might even be potassium-free.

Another nice article. Thanks!
Shoe
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Apr 16, 2012 9:36 AM CST
At the end of the day, leftover dishwater always watered the flowers.
Always at the end of the day, though, because to water flowers in the morning was wasted effort. All the water would evaporate before it got to the roots, she said, so we always watered at night. Plus Ninna said it was the roots that needed the water, the leaves got enough from the early morning dew. We had a lot of early morning dew in the mountains, Shoe. Remember?

And I'm still doing the same thing, watering at night. It's been very windy here, warm but windy. So even if it's only April, I'm already watering. I gave that old enameled pan to my aunt after Ninna passed. I wish I'd kept it, but my aunt was Ninna's daughter after all and she wanted it.

Thanks Shoe. You are right about the detergents.
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