Sunday, 9 May 2010

Fighting Flea Beetle - A Homemade Organic Recipe

After a busy couple of weeks and yesterdays cold and none to summery weather we finally managed a worthy allotment stint this morning. My maincrop potatoes are now in and my slightly belated broad beans are planted - just as some of them start to flower! I think flowering was their plea to be planted out.Unfortunately despite my best efforts only 8 seeds germinated successfully so I'm not expecting a bountiful harvest this year. Mr Notebook has dug over and prepared where the climbing beans will go so next week I hope to get my canes up. This should pscycologically make the plot feel all that more productive! I don't know why but my morale is always boosted once the runner bean canes are in place. Slightly denting my feeling of achievment this morning was the sight of my pak choi. From a distance the plants looked to be bushing up but on closer inspection I found the leaves peppered with tiny holes, almost as if they had been machine gunned. The extent of the damage means there are more holes than leaf - not very encouraging. I think the culprits must be flea beetles.

So once home I poured over my gardening books to find a solution. Apparently they thrive in dry cracked soil, so I presume the long dry April has been ideal for them. I will need to work on increasing the humus content with regular mulching but as an immediate fight against the little blighters, I found this recipe for an all purpose organic insecticide which is said to deter flea beetle, caterpillars and aphids. Whilst I can't repair the existing damage I thought I would give this a try and see if there is an improvment in the situation.
Take equal quantities of  mint, chopped onion, garlic and lavender stems.
Cover them in boiling water and leave to stew for 24 hours.
Strain and then pour into a spray bottle.
And for those of you who spend the summer being eaten alive, the book also reommends the same recipe, minus the garlic and onion, to make an effective personal insect repellent! If you're game enough to try, let me know how you get on!


  1. Thank for this recipe. I will make this personal insect repellent and will let you know the results. I hope it works against mosquitoes.
    So far I have aphids on roses and fruit trees, none on veggies. But season is just starting, so I’m sure aphids will find their way to vegetable garden also.

  2. Thanks for this recipe Nina, I too am particular tasty for midges who seem to find me even amongst hundreds of other people. I may give this insect repellant a go rather than using the normal, but harmful, deet.

  3. I will certainly be giving this a try. I too suffer with the dreaded flea beetle, especially with rocket. I will let you know how l get on!

  4. I think structures on allotments always make it look more productive. I was hoping to have my bean wigwams in place by now, but they should get put up some time this week, and it won't be long until the brassica cage is up either.

  5. Might well have a go at spraying myself with mint and lavender - at least I will smell nice even if said potion does not deter the critters. Hope that the beans are soon climbing skyward up those canes :)

  6. Hi! I found you through Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and I love your perspective and gardens. I hope you'll stop by and share this recipe at a carnival I host called "Tuesday Garden Party" where you can find (and link up!) all things garden-related. The Tuesday Garden Party starts every Tuesday at 6:30am (PST) at and runs through Thursday. I hope you'll stop by and share!

  7. I am definitely going to give both of these recipes a try! How nice that the insect repellent will smell good!