Dealing with Pests (the natural way)

To keep things organic in the veg patch it’s useful to have a few pest-prevention tactics up your sleeves before you plant for the season. The list below details just a few ways you can keep your plants protected, and it’s well worth reading through ahead of the planting season.

  1. Keep a tidy plot to keep slugs & snails to a minimum – this is something that you can start working on over the next few months. Remove big stones, empty pots, watering cans that are lying about etc as all these offer lovely hiding places for slugs & snails. Also, keep weeds down, as you’ll find that slugs hide in amongst weeds too.
  2. Set beer traps when you plant new plants – again, this is to keep slugs off your crops. Newly planted, young veg plants are at their most vulnerable, so keeping them well protected in the first few weeks is really important.
  3. Protect brassicas with mesh netting – you can make hoop tunnels fairly easily using old hose pipe, bamboo and netting. This will keep pigeons away from brassicas, and in the summer it will keep cabbage white butterflies from laying their eggs on your crops, and consequently you will have far fewer problems with hungry caterpillars! You can find out how to make a tunnel in our blog post below.
  4. Use companion plants – this is a great way to attract beneficial insects to your plot so that they can deal with any aphid infestations etc as nature intended. See more on our blog post below.
  5. Make brassica collars from cardboard – cut out a 10cm disc, cut a slit into the centre and place it around the base of the plant. This’ll help to keep brassicas free from cabbage root fly. (more details in post below)
  6. Cover carrots with horticultural fleece if your plot is susceptible to carrot fly.
  7. Turn your compost pile regularly to avoid rodent infestations.
  8. Make a rabbit proof fence if bunnies are a problem – a simple chicken wire and bamboo staked fence should be enough to deter rabbits in most instances, but you may need to dig it into the ground if they are a real nuisance (to prevent them from digging a tunnel underneath!)
  9. Yellow, sticky traps work wonders – an upturned yellow bucket smeared with vaseline acts as a good trap for many small pests such as aphids
  10. Grow enough that you are happy to sacrifice a few crops – we think this is quite important too…after all, we are trying to work with nature and not against it. So, if a mouse nibbles a couple of carrots, hopefully you’re growing enough that you can enjoy some too. And so on.

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