Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bug Spray and Garden Magic

This week, we decided to make homemade bug spray and tick repellant. We really try to avoid the chemicals in things like Off, but natural bug sprays can be pricey, so crafting our own made sense. And it's just fun to feel like an alchemist in an ancient apothecary.  

The blue spray bottle in the back center is what we mixed our bug spray in. For a base, we filled the bottle halfway with boiled water, then filled it almost to the top with witch hazel. People often use a carrier oil, like grapeseed, coconut, or olive, for something like this, but we opted to find something other than oil to use since it sounded greasy in the hot summer sun. We stumbled across a blog that suggested using the witch hazel and water mix, and decided to give it a try. 

For our oils, we used about 30 drops each of tea tree, peppermint, citronella, and neem. We've read that neem oil is an excellent natural tick repellent. The other oils are good for mosquito and general bug repelling, and they smell nice. 

Dave giving our new bug spray a try, complete with his beloved bug netting hat, one of his way over-prepared Ebay purchases before this trip. 

Dave was able to capture this woodpecker on a tree in my parent's backyard. 

Especially with the recent rains, our garden has really taken off! It was so cool to literally watch the beans sprout out of the ground overnight. It's like magic. 

We are clearly planning on having the tallest tomato plants in the neighborhood! These 8 foot stakes were a great price, and the 4 foot stakes just seemed too short, so my Dad and I brought these home, giving everyone a good laugh. 

We have so many small tomatoes already! In just two weeks these tomatoes have gotten bigger than our  poor blight riddled Florida tomatoes ever got. 

These tomato plants were happy to be staked today. 

The weeds also have been happy! Dave did a bunch of weeding after this photo was taken, and now that all the sprouts are coming up, my Dad is going to put down newspaper and more dirt to choke out the weed growth. 


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