In the front of our house towards the front door entrance we have this flower bed space that was typically used for vinca flowers and other ornamental plants.
I enjoy looking at ornamental plants just as much as any other homeowner but if you grow plants for consumption, they’re kinda a waste of space right?
Recently I’ve been fascinated with the concept of using plants that provide the beauty and pleasant fragrance of ornamental plants, but can also be put to good use and are edible (or smokable).
So we’ve decided to use this space as an herb garden instead. (just the edible kind). Herbs like mint, peppermint, sage, thyme, basil, oregano, and I recently just planted some marjoram seeds. (looking forward to trying some good Italian recipes).
These herbs smell great, attract pollinators, and still provide an eye-pleasing visual display just as good as ornamental plants.
That is when they’re not being taken over by armyworms of course. The other day I noticed our mint and peppermint plants were filthy of fras and being devoured by armyworms. Every other herb untouched… I didn’t realize they had such a minty appetite.
Usually I’ll use a Bt product as the first mode of attack against a low presence of worm or caterpillar pests but if your plants are being aggressively taken over, like mine were, its best to use a product containing the active ingredient spinosad.
I mixed my spinosad concentrate with about 1.5% v/v Mantis EC and the next day the only armyworms I could find were non-moving, dead ones.
In this case, the spinosad concentrate was doing all the heavy lifting but I tend to add Mantis to just about all my applications to provide better coverage and make the worms more susceptible to the treatment. Mantis breaks down the insect’s outer cuticle, thus making them more vulnerable to exposure providing a quicker death.
This is a great application for high worm or caterpillar pressure but you don’t want to over use it. Spinosad is a great natural insecticide that is safe to use and fairly pest specific, but it can be toxic to some beneficial insects, including bees when applied during activity, and pests can develop resistance.
For more info on your organic pest control options, check out my post Organic Pest Control for Indoor & Outdoor Growers.
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