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April 23, 2013

Pesky guests: Taking control of garden pests organically

Pesky guests: Taking control of garden pests organically

There are plenty of options available to get rid of garden pests if you want to steer away from pesticides and chemicals

Keeping garden pests under control may seem like a never-ending battle but in the lead up to warmer weather preparation and prevention are crucial.

If, like many gardeners, you would prefer to steer away from pesticides and chemicals there are plenty of options available.

Natural predation

One of the best ways to reduce unwanted critters is to encourage more predators into the environment. If you have room consider adding a pond which will encourage wildlife including hedgehogs, bats, birds and frogs. These helpful animals will eat insect pests such as flies, bugs and aphids and help to reduce the overall populations.

If adding a pond doesn’t suit, try a simpler alternative such as a few feeders and nesting boxes to encourage birds. Hedgehogs are particularly effective at controlling slug populations and providing some dense undergrowth or a basic wooden box should encourage their habitation.
Careful planting can be another brilliant management technique; select plants that will encourage predators with their fruits, nectars and pollens. Try planting together as a protection for more vulnerable crops.

Even the most thoughtful of planting may not be enough for your greenery and nature may require a helping hand, but this doesn’t mean you have to reach for chemical solutions.

Water spraying

Try spraying your plants with water or a light soap solution. This will be especially effective against aphids. For more persistent problems try organic deterrents such as a garlic repellent spray or plant oils.

Deterrents and barriers

Many pests are sensitive to certain materials; slugs for example do not like the sharpness of eggshells so scattering some around your plants will help to keep them at bay. Other popular methods include bottle cloches - clear plastic drink bottles with the top and bottom removed as a cover for vegetables. Netting too can help to keep pests away from your plants, whilst still encouraging predators to the area.

Traps

The use of a trap is a great option for an organic gardener. Sticky traps, codling for moths and beer traps to entice slugs are all tried and tested methods.

And what about my garden waste?

Don’t forget that if you decide to take on a garden project you’ll need to dispose of the waste as well and a HIPPOBAG can help. Ideal for garden waste and soil the bags are a cost effective and hassle free option.  Simply buy a bag, fill it and it’s gone.