Even the smallest of gardens requires a reasonable amount of maintenance to keep it looking good. Allowing pests to destroy it is just not in a gardeners nature. Giving plants the best conditions to grow includes pest control measures such as attracting pest-eating insects and wildlife, regular inspections of the gardens, etc. is the best pest management. The reason being, it is a lot-lot easier to keep the unwanted bugs and insects out of your pride and joy as it is to get rid of pest infestations so it is part of a gardener remit to learn how to deal with pest infestations.
Here is some help with dealing with the most common pest found in the garden
These tiny sap-sucking creatures are probably the most common of all garden pests. A plant that is attacked by aphids can be recognised by curled and twisted leaves or thick green, white or black clusters on the stem. Aphids are always present in the garden in a certain amount and do not necessarily require intervention by the gardener. But an aphid infestation can cause severe damage to the plant and requires immediate action. Various insecticides can be used to deal with aphids, but you are highly recommended to avoid chemical pesticides as they are damaging to both the environment and human health. Instead, use organic and environmentally friendly pesticides such as stinging nettle spray or mixture of the liquid dishwasher, vegetable oil and water.
Just like aphids, these small creatures typically live on the undersides of the leaves and feed on the plant, while spider mite infestation can be recognised by silk webbing and leaf discolouration. And just like other common garden pests, they adapt quickly to chemical pesticides and as a result, the chemicals which are used to destroy these tiny creatures by conventional gardeners are becoming more and more toxic. Fortunately, the spider mite can also be controlled by organic pesticides made of stinging nettle or garlic.
Slugs & Snails
Regardless if they have that adorable shell or not, slugs and snails like to eat vegetables too and usually do not mind flowering plants either. They particularly like seedlings and do not even give your plants the chance to grow. Slug and snail baits are available in just about every garden centre, but you better stay away from the chemical ones who are toxic even to small mammals such as hedgehogs which are, by the way, a natural enemy of these common garden pests. Choose organic garden baits or create a barrier around your plants from crushed eggshells, sharp rocks, wood ash or similar sharp material because slugs and snails are unlikely to attempt to travel over a material which can damage their soft bodies. Also, consider handpicking early in the morning and late in the evening when they are most active.
The larvae of moths cause severe damage to the plants as they typically feed on the base of stems, leaves or roots and may even cause the plant to die. Unfortunately, they are tough to control as they lay buried in the soil during the day and feed exclusively during the night. No pesticides are available for this pest, but there are a few natural ways which will help you prevent them from causing damage to your garden. The best way to fight cutworms is to cultivate the soil before winter to expose them to birds and other wildlife species which feed on these caterpillars.
They typically help keep garden pests at bay and are attracted to the gardens by bird feeders, birth baths, nest boxes, etc., but there are a few such as pigeon and chaffinch for example which does not only feed on pests but garden plants as well. To protect your vegetables and fruits from the birds, use netting to prevent them from reaching the crops. Also, consider buying or making a bird scarer.
These tiny jumping bugs are one of the most annoying garden pests. They rarely kill the plant, but they make some holes in the leaves. And if you by chance grow Cola, they make it virtually inedible. Unfortunately, there is no other way to get rid of them other than by chemical pesticides because they are too tiny and fast to be handpicked like most other beetle pests. However, think twice before you use chemical agents because you will eat that plant too. Also, flea beetles usually do not cause severe damage to plants such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower and cabbage. But if you would like to grow rucola for instance, cover it with fleece.
The microscopic moth-like insects feed on the plant sap and just like aphids; they always occur in thick clusters. They are more challenging to repel by using exclusively organic measures, but there are a few organic pesticides which can be used to fight whitefly, while some such as lemon balm infusion (60 grammes of fresh lemon balm per 1 litre of water) can even be made by yourself. However, if whitefly is continuously causing you problems, you should seriously consider preventive measures such as fleecing the plants which are typically infested.
Like its name suggest, this red beetle eats Lilies or its leaves and stems to be more precise. Furthermore, it lays eggs on the underside of the leaves, and when larvae hatch from the eggs, they feed on your lilies too. Since Lilies are supposed to look beautiful and enhance the beauty of your garden, fleecing them is not the best way to protect them from this pest. The greenest and most efficient way to deal with lily beetle is to inspect your plants on a daily basis and remove all the beetles and larvae by hand, of course, by wearing a glove because you probably find them too repulsive to touch them with your bare hands.
They are adorable animals, but it is not adorable at all if they are using your garden as a toilet or squashing your plants. Also, male cats tend to urinate every couple of metres, especially during the breeding season and leave a highly unpleasant smell, not to mention that seeing a cat peeing on your salad makes you lose appetite to eat it. Several so-called cat deterrents are available in garden centres, while their results tend to vary greatly. Unfortunately, there are no proven ways to keep cats out of your garden, not even a fence. Do not leave any bare ground which is cats’ favourite place to defecate although this does not always work either as some cats are bold enough to defecate on the lawn without even trying to bury their faeces.