Organic gardening and natural pest control
THE most frustrating part about organic gardening is controlling the pests.
It can be very tempting to spray them with chemical pesticides when you discover your plants have been chewed to stalks.
If your soil is healthy it will contain lots of beneficial insects and these would be killed alongside the pests, which will upset the balance in the garden.
A small amount of damage by insects is natural and should be tolerated.
Other insects, predatory birds, lizards and frogs usually keep damage to a minimum.
I squash grasshoppers but I will move caterpillars to a sacrificial plant because I love butterflies.
Ladybirds eat aphids on rose bushes. Lemon-scented geraniums, bush basil and sweet peas all attract bees.
My father had a border of marigolds around his vegetable garden, I thought it looked very pretty until he told me it was to keep the bugs out.
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Sometimes grasshoppers and sap-sucking bugs such as thrips and harlequin bugs can arrive in overwhelming numbers and need to be dealt with.
I use a 50/50 mix of vegetable oil and detergent and spray directly on the insect. This works by suffocating them.
Continue daily until theyare all gone as more will fly in.
Garlic and chilli sprays are a little stronger and are made by adding the ingredients to the oil and detergent mix.
Although I do say all creatures are welcome in my garden, there is one visitor I kill on sight.
Cane toads. I spray them with Dettol and put them in a plastic bag in the bin. I won't put them in my freezer, my dinner is in there.