My overwintered chilli plants are doing ok. Not exactly flourishing but still alive and beginning to show signs of new growth. But they are covered in greenfly and whitefly. Now one of my fellow garden bloggers suggested a new way of dealing with these little beasts: chamomile tea*. I confess to disliking this stuff intensely so it seemed sensible that the little beasts might run a mile at its scent as well. I do like other weird teas, just not chamomile. So I acquired some chamomile tea, made a large pot, put some in the plant sprayer and the rest in the fridge. I warned the assistant gardeners not to touch the stuff in the fridge, in case they thought it was something nice to drink. I happily sprayed the chillies, then went away for a few days. On my return, the whitefly have disappeared but the greenfly are breeding like rabbits. Back to brushing them off with a paint brush over the sink then but at least the whitefly have good taste when it comes to unpleasant smells.
On to making tonight’s evening meal, helped by my older wandering assistant gardener, home for the holidays. ‘See if you can find any stock in the fridge and stick it in a pan’, I said as I peeled the potatoes. He put the stock on to boil and I added the potatoes. Only as I turned to dry my hands did I notice the empty jug which had held the chamomile tea. ‘Was that the stock?’. So we had chamomile tea flavoured potatoes for our evening meal. They weren’t as bad as they might have been and at least the whitefly stayed away.
So what have I learned?
- Chamomile tea works as a whitefly deterrent (so do nasturtiums but you can’t grow them all year round)
- It doesn’t work for greenfly
- Don’t put unidentified liquids in jugs in the fridge unless you are prepared to eat whatever gets cooked in them
- Chamomile tea doesn’t taste too bad once you’ve cooked potatoes in it (but that isn’t enough to persuade me to like it)
*I can’t remember which of the many bloggers I follow suggested using chamomile tea. Apologies for not remembering but many thanks for the suggestion anyway. Let me know if it was you.