Ladybugs are our friends!
At certain times of year, mostly in the warmer weather, you are going to be faced with garden pests of some type. That’s a fact of gardening life and one you might as well accept.
When they have their season, if you like, you can go to war with them and try to wipe them out – that’s going to cost you time and money and often it’s a pretty hard war to win. In fact it can drive you nuts! If you’re going to take this path, at least ensure you use organic pest control so you don’t ruin the food you want to eat.
Myself, I’d rather put my that time & money into starting new plants, fertilising and waiting it out. Eventually a predator will come along or the weather will change & the bug population will get wiped out anyway.
There are a few easy strategies that will help in minimising the impact of bugs though:-
- If the bugs are ruining half of your crop, then maybe it’s as simple as planting twice as much!
- Please, please don’t put your food plants in nice neat rows. This is an open invitation to the bugs, once established, to ruin your entire crop. Instead, mix your plantings up as much as possible to help confuse them. If you’ve got broccoli planted in all different spots in the garden amongst lots of other plants, there’s a good chance that the cabbage moth won’t find all of them. If they’re in a nice neat row, once they find the first one, you can kiss goodbye to all of them.
- By all means, spend a bit of time manually removing the caterpillars, grasshoppers, snails and slugs. Every one you pick off interrupts the breeding cycle and can have a marked effect on their population. Try offering the kids some pocket money for every one they pick off for great effect.
- Leave spiders, wasps & lady beetles be – they kill and eat many of the same bugs you’re trying to eradicate.
- Plant more plants from the onion family like chives, shallots & garlic. Most bugs don’t like them and dotted throughout your garden, they can act like a pest repellant. Nasturtium is another good companion plant for bugs.