Julie Kuehl

The upside is that we are finally starting to get warmer weather. The downside is that with those rays of sunshine come those pesky mosquitoes. This is a battle that rages every summer between humans and nature. Here are few ways to help lessen this battle and help you enjoy being outside.

Make sure that you do not have stagnant standing water. This makes the perfect breeding ground for these pests. Mosquitoes need 7-12 days to lay eggs and will not breed in moving water. Don’t have tires or miscellaneous containers sitting around collecting rain water. If you have a rain barrel it will help to keep a cover on it. If you have bird baths, keep cleaning the water. The birds will be happier and you won’t have a breeding place for mosquitoes. If you have ponds submerge barley straw in mesh bags into the pond before algae forms. The wet barley straw will release an enzyme that helps control algae. You put it in now and again in the fall. It will last about six months.

On my patio I use a variety of plants to help deter mosquitoes. Some work well and others help some but are pretty or smell really good. I use combinations of containers with lavender, mints, lemon balm and lemon grass. I don’t like using sprays, but will use citronella.

Hopefully these ideas will help you win the battle against mosquitoes this summer.

Don’t forget that the Polk County Master Gardeners will be having their annual plant sale at Soo Line Park Pavilion in Amery from 11-6 (or until sold out). Stop by and check out the array of plants and get to know some Master Gardeners. 

Any questions or suggestions for what you’d like to know about contact me at gardenvarietycolumn@gmail.com.

Until next time keep your shovel in the dirt.

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