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Women in Maucua crushing up plants to make biocida

Often people ask what practitioners of ecological agriculture do to manage pest and plagues. Well there are many different methods that can be used that negate the need for pesticides and other agrochemicals used in conventional agriculture to address these challenges.

For example, we can plant certain plants or flowers around the edges of crops that either repel pests or attract beneficial insects that actually feast on pesky pests. Just properly managing soil fertility contributes significantly to plant resistance to plagues and pests. So essentially everything we do from composting, to soil preparation, to companion planting strengthens plants against environmental threats. Supporting a natural, balanced system reduces the risk of problems. Nonetheless we must also be prepared to address issues as they arise. One easy technique we use is Biocida, a process we learned from a local expert. It is ideal to use with community members because they can gather the ingredients from around their homes, similar to the soil fertility building Biol covered in a past post. Here’s how we prepare Biocida:

Biocida is a natural pest repellent used to both control and prevent pests from attacking plants. It can be used on small plants and should continue to be used on a bi-weekly basis. It can also be used at times when pests are attacking a normally healthy plant. But it is mainly a preventative solution rather than a control once pests have infested a plant.

Ingredients:

  • Bitter and aromatic herbs, plants, etc. growing in your garden and wild around your garden – these act as repellents
  • Leaf of a Cactus: Ideally the agave cactus or Tuna but any cactus will work – acts as a sticky substance that keeps the solution on the leaves (if you don’t have this, it will still work)
  • Water
  • Onion – repellent
  • Garlic – repellent
  • Hot pepper (i.e. a jalapeño) – repellent

Standard Biocida (this is the one we use most often):

  • Crush up the plants into small pieces
  • Mix in a bucket with water (1/2 plants;1/2 water)
  • Let sit for  24 hours so the active ingredients of the plants soak into the water
  • Filter out the plant particles inot a backpack or other spraying device
  • Dilute with water (i.e. if you have 1 6 liter backpack, 2liters should be bioicida and the rest water)
  • Spray on the leaves of all plants

Biocida Tea:

  • Boil water
  • Add all the leaves, garlic, onion, pepper, and cactus
  • Mix into the boiled water and let sit for 2 -3 minutes
  • Dilute with more water (1/4 biocida to 3/4 water)
  • Spray on leaves of all plants

Biocida Infusion

  • Place plants in a bucket with boiled water. Use a bucket that can be hermetically sealed for about 10 minutes. If using stems, roots, or plants with hard outer leaves, you may need to leave them in the infusion for 20-30 mins.
  • Spray on the leaves of plants

 Notes:

  • The spray is strong. Don’t spray on plants you plan to harvest within the next week
  • Apply after watering plants and don’t water for 12 hours after to prevent the bioicida from washing off the leaves

 Enjoy pest free plants! ~Kat

 

 

 

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