THE enemies of growing things have certainly increased alarmingly of late years, I cannot recall that formerly any insect was to be found in either vegetable or flower garden, other than the potato bug, currant-worm, cabbage-worm, and the green worm and small black beetle on the Rose; but now there are so many horrid creatures lying in wait until a plant is in perfection, to cut the stalk, or eat the root, or eat the pith from the stalk so that it falls, or to devour the leaves and eat the blossoms, that insecticides and a spraying machine are as necessary to a garden as a spade. For a small garden a spraying machine holding from a couple of quarts to a gallon, can be bought for a trifling sum, that will answer the purpose very well. For a larger garden, a good air-pump, costing from five dollars upwards, will be found an excellent investment.
One of the best insecticides is Bordeaux mixture, which can either be bought or made. I have twenty-five gallons made at a time and keep it always on hand. The following is the receipe:
Three pounds of blue vitriol in coarse crystals; three pounds of unslaked lime. Slake the lime in two and one-half gallons of water; pour two and one-half gallons of water over the blue vitriol in another receptacle, and let both stand over night. In the morning stir the blue vitriol until all is dissolved; then let two persons pour simultaneously the lime water and the blue vitriol into the same receptacle, and add twenty gallons of water; stir well before filling the spraying machine.
Bordeaux mixture is to be used for rust, mildew, and all kinds of blight, whenever the leaves of plants have a tendency to turn black. Hollyhocks seem to be universally attacked by rust. Spraying the plants at the end of April, and again in the middle of May, should entirely prevent this.