Homegrown Bug Mix

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We consider having a good bug mix on hand really useful (essential even) in creating a healthy, pest free garden. It’s key function is to attract certain insects (often referred to as beneficials) that help pollinate crops and control unwanted insects.

As we’re in Tasmania we’re unable to buy in certain seeds and bug mixes due to quarantine, so we grown our own – and while the mix will vary depending on seasons and availability, here are some of our stalwart and rather beautiful ingredients. Image from Green Harvest

 

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Sweet Alice (Lobularia maritima) has masses of tiny white and/or purple flowers that attract hoverflies and parasitic mini-wasps. This little bush grows prolifically, so much so that we often ‘weed’ it out and use it as mulch to protect naked soils. In doing so it drops its seeds and grows where we’ve thrown it down. When the bush is dry, we also put some of it in a paper bag and shake it around vigorously – this separates the seeds from their pods so we can easily harvest them.

IMG_5384Sweet Alice being used as mulch

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IMG_5386Sweet Alice seed pods and actual seed separated

The second plant we use *a lot* is calendula (Calendula Officinalis). We use it as a quick growing cover crop to help stabilise and beautify some of our many slopes and attract the good guys into our landscape. Ladybirds (and bees) love hanging out on these little beauties.

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Finally, we use nasturtiums (Tropaeolum) in our bug mix which everything seem to love. They’re a fantastic ground cover, perfect in orchards and for rambling down slopes. We use their young seed pods to make ‘poor man capers‘, and the rest fall on the ground and are harvested for our bug mix.

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All three of these plants will grow prolifically and while they will self seed and become very abundant in your garden, they wont become invasive. This means you can happily grow them in both your annual and perennial crops without a problem.

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Above and below you can see some of these flowers in action in our orchard, below you’ll also see flowers like borage, native pelagonium and sunflowers,  who add to creating an attractive, food filled space for beneficial bugs.

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Want to know more?

 

4 Responses to “Homegrown Bug Mix”

  1. vallorie

    Just a quick note – according to the Tasmanian Border Control agents that attended the Seed Storm workshop here in Tasmania earlier this year, there are no issues sending the good bug mix to Tas. They looked at the list of the seeds in the mix, and found no problem. There may have previously been an issue with a couple of the items in the mix, but that is no longer the case. Thought you might like to know! I have a request into Green Harvest (who also attended the workshop) as a reminder to update their website to allow the shipment.
    Cheers,
    Vallorie

    Reply
    • Hannah Moloney

      That’s great news Vallorie! I was just looking at their catalogue yesterday and it definitely still says that it can’t come to Tas (or W.A). I’ll watch with interest 🙂

      Reply

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