You spend hours upon hours each week nurturing, loving, pruning, and adjusting your garden to make it flourish. It’s your pride and joy; the hub of your home and the last thing you want to see destroyed by a pesky bug or bird.
Slugs, birds, cutworms, and caterpillars can all wreak havoc on a garden. So the question is this: how do you control garden pests and ensure that they don’t devastate your Eden?
Here we’re going to give you a rundown on how you can keep pesky garden pests under control without the use of chemicals or pesticides.
Slugs & Snails
They might be slow movers, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t difficult to eliminate. You’ll know you have an infestation of slugs or snails when you start to spot holes in the leaves of your plants.
But slugs and snails, just like the rest of us, love a cold drop of beer. Yes, you read that right. Beer.
Grab a couple of cheap cans and fill a small container. Bury the container in your infested area up to the rim and overnight the critters will make their way over to the beer, fall in and drown.
Don’t want to waste a beer? We don’t blame you. You can also make a trap using grape juice, half a tablespoon of yeast and some sugar.
These garden enemies go under a few different aliases – plant lice, white flies, black flies, greenflies – and they multiply at an astonishing rate, meaning that a small, inconsequential infestation can quickly get out of hand.
Once they’ve fed on a plant they leave a sticky residue, opening the plant up to a number of viral diseases.
Introducing ladybirds into your garden is a great way to be rid of these pests. But if you’re looking for an alternative, make a citrus-rind spray. Grate one lemon into a pint of boiling water, leave it overnight to steep and then strain using a coffee filter. Add to a spray bottle and have at the little blights.
One of the most common onslaughts in a garden comes from the sky. Birds enjoy nibbling away at your beloved vegetable patch or uprooting plants to get at the seeds.
The quickest way to stop birds is to cover your beds with a black net cover. In most instances, a 4m-wide netting will do the trick. The mesh will also help protect your plants from the wind.
Don’t underestimate spider mites because of their size. These critters tend to live on the underside of the leaves of your plants and suck the sap (and life) right out of them. Good news, though – they’re super easy to get rid of.
One trick is to regularly spray your outdoor plants with a hose. Aim for the underside in particular. Another simple way is to use rubbing alcohol with two parts water and spray onto the infested plants. This should kill them instantly.
That’s some specific advice for those suffering from a pest onslaught, but below we have put together some general guidance on how to stop pests from invading your garden.
The right insects
Not all bugs are out to make your gardening life hell. By introducing ladybirds, lacewings, bees and spiders you can turn away unwanted visitors like cutworms, cabbage moths, and flea beetles. Check out this handy infographic for a full list of insects that you’ll want to make a home for in your backyard.
Create healthy soil
Studies have shown that the healthier the soil, the better equipped the plants are at withstanding attacks from garden pests. Adding mulch to your garden when plants are around four inches high and introducing a compost bin to your backyard can help.
Keep a close eye on your garden
Getting rid of garden pests entirely isn’t going to happen. It’s all about monitoring your space to ensure that an infestation isn’t going to take control. The best way to do this is to regularly check your plants and vegetables for any hints of pest damage like rolled leaves, chewed leaves, and discoloured plants.
Don’t let a few tiny little bugs get the better of your backyard. Just dedicate a little time each week to pest control and your garden will flourish.