De-Mosquito-fy Your Patio
As tired as we are of cold and winter in general, remember that spring and summer are not far off. And with warmer temperatures comes bugs: the good, the bad, and the downright annoying.
Good bugs will be invading your gardens soon. These are the lacewings, ladybeetles, assassin bugs, syrphid flies, parasitic wasps, and so many others. You can attract these critters to your garden by providing them with a suitable habitat and, of course, food.
The Food…I Mean, The Bad Bugs
Fortunately (or unfortunately? I’m not sure here) for so many of us, food for the good bugs is plentiful in our gardens. I’m talking aphids, leaf miners, caterpillars of all sorts, leafhoppers, and so many more. The truth is though, we need these so-called ‘bad bugs’ to sustain the ‘good bugs’. And we need all of these bugs to support the bird population which has seen some serious declines in the past few decades.
It’s the food web and every strand is important in its own way, whether it’s good, bad, or just annoying. Speaking of annoying…
That’s right – mosquitoes. They’ll be here in the next few months and there’s really nothing we can do to stop that. Remember to report suspicious dead birds to the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Heath Centre or your local authority.
There are so many places that mosquitoes can breed and thrive but we can keep those to a minimum on our properties:
– Empty bird baths daily
– Build a bat box
– Use a screen on your rain barrel (pat yourself on the back for having a rain barrel)
– Put a few goldfish in your rain barrel
– Plant a beautiful mosquito repelling planter…wait, what?!
That’s right! This week, I came upon this great idea for a container filled with plants mosquitoes simply don’t like. Avoid the use of DEET this summer and start planning for something eye-catching.
Building Your Container
Using a large container, at least a foot deep, add:
– Citronella geranium
– Marigold ‘Lemon Gem’
– Lemon grass
– Ageratum ‘Artist Purple’
– Lemon thyme
Notice a theme here? A lot of lemon. Guess it’s not their thing.
If you have cats in your neighbourhood and don’t feel like entertaining them on your patio, skip the catnip and add lemon basil instead.
Use a good quality potting soil, keep your planter in the sun, and monitor the water. Remember that containers will dry out quicker than the rest of your gardens.
Finally, enjoy your nights outside without the irritating buzz of itch-inducing mosquitoes!