Keeping Pests at Bay!

15 April 2013 | Posted in Gardening by The Marshalls Family

Brassicas with Insect NetKeeping Pests at Bay!

While I strive as far as possible to make my garden wildlife friendly there are some garden visitors that I would prefer not to take advantage of my hospitality! I actively try to encourage birds, ladybirds, lacewings and more into the garden as they can keep pest numbers down in a big way and are obviously much better for the environment.

 One of the pests that send me into an almost murderous rage are Cabbage White Caterpillars - I had a devastating attack a few years ago - I woke up one morning and my plants were alive with the horrible things, my brassica leaves were as lacy as my granny's doily! It's not just the holes in the leaves but the horrible ‘frass' (that's caterpillar poo to you and me!) that I hate and I just can't bring myself to eat any of the plants even after a thorough washing! So now as soon as brassicas are planted they get covered with Insect Netting so the butterflies can't get anywhere near the plants to lay their eggs! The netting is fine enough to keep out cabbage and carrot root fly and whitefly too while allowing water and air to pass through. It also gives some protection from high winds and heavy rains creating a safe micro-climate. It is very light weight and doesn't fray when cut. Remember prevention is always better than cure!

 Of course another scourge of the veg gardener is slugs and snails. I have a resident thrush that consumes vast amounts of snails - she whacks them on one particular paving slab and leaves the empty shells (and a certain amount of nasty mess!) for me just to prove just how many she has eaten! I also have 3 chickens and they certainly do their bit in helping to keep the slug and snail population down but they are also a trifle indiscriminate in their efforts to find them - seedlings don't stand a chance once they start scratching - so I have to keep certain areas off limits!

 However natural predators may not be quite up to the job if there is a really bad infestation and we all know last year was a bumper year for slugs and snails! I don't want to destroy ladybirds and other helpful visitors so I only use Biological Controls which I find are really effective - especially against slugs - I really don't want too many slugs in my veg plot! Nemaslug and other Nemasys products do not harm any other wildlife, children, chickens or pets and they are very easy to use. I put mine on the veg plot last weekend, you just mix it in a watering can and water it over your soil - it's as simple as that.

 

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