Tag Archives: natural insecticide

containing the contagion

9 Apr

It’s barely April, but tireless aphids don’t keep calendars. I have my first plant in quarantine. The young pretty basil has been infected. To contain the contagion, aside from removing from the other plants, I tried a tobacco and catnip tea.

A youngen herself, the Burley Tobacco plant teamed up with the teen catnip and donated some of their leaves to the cause. Before taking any leaves, I usually sit with the plant and give a prayer of permission and gratitude at her offering.


I chopped the few leaves and placed in a shallow bowl. I let them soak in water for 48 hours. I seeped through a strainer, and sprayed on the basil leaves and stems.

Since the basil is a small plant to begin with, I only used a few leaves of both the tobacco and the catnip.

Tobacco is said to be a natural insecticide. The effects are short-lived so it does not harm the plants. Do not spray on peppers, tomatoes, or any other member of the nightingale family as they are very sensitive to tobacco. Catnip is also said to be an excellent bug repellant, especially for larger bugs like cockroaches, mosquitoes, and caterpillars. I added a few leaves of catnip for an extra kick, but it would not have been absolutely necessary. I anticipate spraying the basil a couple of times in the next two weeks.

When I first bought the Burley Tobacco plant from the nursery, I thought it was more of a curiosity, a conversation piece. I had not anticipated she would be put to work. But she jumped at the chance!

I hope this tea takes care of the aphids before Mother’s Day (date of last possibility of frost for Colorado) when they will be transplanted in the garden plot.

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