3 top tips for outsmarting garden pests
As you get ready to sow, plant and re-arrange your vegetable beds and flower borders, now it the time to take steps to outsmart the pests that can so often ruin your crops and leave plants in tatters.
There are a number of ways you can do this – cover vulnerable plants, put nuisance insects off the scent of prized crops, or simply install some sacrificial flora and fauna which will attract pests to them and away from other varieties.
Here are the tips and tricks you need to know about…
1. Use smelly plants
Pests can often be confused through scent, or simply don’t like the smell of certain plants. You can repel whitefly from valuable crops by planting French marigolds, Tagetes, next to them. The whiff of garlic and alliums, which are ornamental onions, can also keep pests at bay generally. Mixing highly scented plants together makes it more difficult for pests to find their favourite target. The strong smell of catmint, Nepeta, can deter flea beetles, while hyssop and mint put off cabbage white butterflies. Plant hedging barriers of fragrant plants such as lavender, hyssop, rosemary or southernwood around your whole vegetable plot to mask the scent of your veg from pests.
2. Create barriers
Place a barrier of grit or eggshells around plants which are frequently targeted by slugs and snails, such as hostas and lupins. Cover vulnerable young vegetable plants with fine-mesh crop-protection netting, or even old net curtains, and protect new brassica plantings with collars of horticultural fleece to stop cabbage root fly in its tracks. Cover newly sown carrots with horticultural fleece to deter carrot fly.
3. Use sacrificial plants
It may be worth losing some plants, in order to keep others. If you want your beautiful hosta leaves to remain undamaged, try planting Chinese lettuce nearby, which slugs also love – so this will hopefully give them enough food to feast upon without reaching the hostas. But remember to go on a slug patrol too and remove any of the little critters you spot on the sacrificial plants, to stop them breeding.
Grow nasturtiums and garlic to deter aphids from attacking your vegetable crops. Cabbage white caterpillars also love nasturtiums, so you might want to plant a row of them as an alternative menu to cabbages and broccoli, which the caterpillars would also devour. Some predators prefer certain varieties of veg to others. Slugs, for instance, are partial to the autumn-sown onion variety ‘Buffalo’, so if you mix this in with other onion types, the rest may escape relatively intact. Other sacrificial plants may include broad beans to attract red spider mite, nicotiana to lure whitefly, and potatoes to provide a feast for mealy bugs. You will have to dispose of these plants once the pests have taken hold, but at least this method should leave other crops untouched.
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- Quiz: Can you fill in the lyrics for these Christmas songs? - December 17, 2018
- The signs and symptoms of ME that you need to know - December 17, 2018
- Winter feeding tips for the birds in your garden - December 17, 2018
- 5 expert tips to help your poinsettias last through Christmas - December 17, 2018
- Strictly Come Dancing Grand Final songs and dances revealed - December 14, 2018
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!