25 April 2011

Hints And Directions For
Destroying Insects Injurious
To The Farm And Garden


DEFENCES—Lime, charcoal dust, ashes, soda ash, salt, soot, snuff, sulphur, suds of whale-oil soap, sprinkled upon plants, or about their roots, prove a defense against many destroyers.
FIRES—A bright fire of resinous pine, tar, shavings, or any other combustible, kindled in the garden at night, on a platform erected for that purpose, will attract and destroy millions of insects. We do not advise this near barns or dwellings. The man who burned his barn to get rid of the rats is not thought to have gained by the operation.
BOTTLES—Wide-mouth bottles, partly filled with molasses and water, and hung up in the garden, make excellent traps for the moths, which are the parents of many destructive insects.
THE ONION FLY—To destroy this, a writer says, “As soon as you see the plants wither, from the maggot at the root, heat water, throwing in while boiling a quantity of tansy. Apply to the bed with a water-pot without the strainer on it. Do not pour it on the stock.
QUICK LIME— The Red Spider upon vines, the Green Fly upon turnips and cabbages, and the Gooseberry Caterpillar, may be destroyed by watering the plants with lime-water, tobacco-water, or sulphur, or whale-oil soap and water. To prepare lime-water for this purpose; it is only necessary to put a few lumps of quicklime into a barrel of water, over night, and it will be fit for use the next morning. Do not get it too strong.
THE MELON OR SQUASH BUG—These may be destroyed by procuring a quantity, say four pounds, of quassia chips, and putting four gallons of boiling water over them; cover over and let stand twelve hours. Water the plants daily with this until out of danger. Another way is to take hen manure instead of quassia, and make a strong decoction as above, and apply. Another way is to cover the surface of the vines and hills with powdered plaster of Paris as soon as any of the insects appear. Another way is to place shingles near your vines at night, and every morning look under the shingles, and consign the bugs to hot water, or crush them with your foot. Many of the bugs may, in the day time, be removed, in small gardens, from under side of the leaf by hand.
...Bonus Excerpt...
To Prevent Birds Pulling Corn

"Take a quantity of corn, soak it until it becomes soft, then string it on a horsehair or thread, one kernel to each thread or hair. When your corn is coming up throw this on your field. The birds will pick it up and swallow the corn. The thread or hair will stick in their throats, and in trying to get it out, they will scratch out their eyes. Be careful that your hens do not get at it."


Now, mind you, republishing these old agricultural excerpts does not mean I endorse all the old ways. 

The charcoal dust mentioned above is, I'm quite sure, wood charcoal, the ashes are wood ashes, and the tar is pine tar


The next installment of Agrarian Nation will feature a method from 1873 for preserving eggs fresh for six months, how to preserve hams (1826), keeping tomatoes year round (1843), and preservation of apples (1845)... all without refrigeration.

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Unknown said...

A Google search of quassia chips brings up a few different places online where they can be purchased.

mjf said...

I don't know about the rest of this stuff, but my first apartment had cockroaches. Couldn't get rid of them, so we started rehabbing. By the time we'd ripped out a roomful of plaster walls, the cockroaches were good and gone. So plaster of paris will probably annoy garden bugs into hitting the road.

Jim Janknegt said...

Very interesting. I have often wondered how folks kept pests at bay in their garden. I'll have to give some of these a try.