I only planned to grow potatoes this year, but I think I’ve caught the bug but also the bugs! I’m now growing lettuce, swiss chard, beet root, courgettes, leeks, cabbage, kale and purple sprouting. If we end up eating just some of it, I’ll be happy. This summer is all about learning and experimenting. Next summer will be more planned.
So today I’ve been thinking and reading about pests, having found some green fly. I don’t know much but this is as good a place as any to collate some findings. I want wildlife, insects and birds, I want my space to be a bit wild, but I also don’t want to share my produce too much.
Firstly Marigolds. A great companion plant. A few months ago I was all “flowers are a pointless waste of time”! But I’m increasingly understanding the roles of things. They look great but the key thing is the smell is too much for some little bugs and even some rodents. Winner.
Another great companion plant is Nasturtium. This is where a friend found some green fly and some caterpillar eggs. We saw some cabbage white butterflies today, I love that we finally have some wild life. But on the flip side eggs are being laid. Nasturtium is five-star food for these pests, so hopefully I can then draw them away from my cabbage. Apparently I could then buy some lady birds from the interweb to deal with the little black beasts. Or just pick off the leaves with the bugs.
A friend today said pests don’t like herbs. I looked this up, she’s right, not that I doubted you, Sy! It’s the smell (said in my best Agent Smith voice), so I should have planted my broccoli near the rosemary. Also garlic and onions put off pests and I’m going to start growing them in the Autumn.
We have a little windmill for the birds, but next summer we might have to look into more flappers and wind chimes. Apparently the smell of us human beans puts some animals off, so an old hat on a pole does something.
I can deliberately bolt some lettuce for the slugs. Let the slimy little suckers dine on something and stay away from mine. I’ve been slug tossing, but I hear they have homing beacons and come back like a boomerang. I might have to start squishing them, which I don’t feel great about.
Slug barriers… I bought a box of basically broken up shards of pottery and glass, I think this works but you needs loads of it so I felt it was a little pointless, so I might try coffee grounds instead. Egg shells are not advised unless you clean out the membrane which they actually get drawn too, which is waaaaaaay too time consuming for me. I am collecting egg shells and putting them in the compost, which might help next year, I am magimixing them up as they decompose very slowly and I don’t want whole egg shells in my beds. I’m also going to try making a beer trap, eventually – if I can spare any beer.
Simply looking after your plot keeps slugs away, keeping the soil bare when tender shoots are coming up. Not letting leaves fall on paths and creating nice little bridges. Next year I might stick some spinach in amongst other plants for them. I like these kind of approaches rather than putting copper everywhere. Or we could get ducks.. Circus Queen?
Finally, if I’m serious about this vegetable growing thang. Then I might have to be serious about getting some mesh. But booooy, cheap it ain’t! £15.99 for Enviromesh from SimplyGro, apparently it’s worth getting the finest mesh and commercial grade mesh will last for years. What puts me off is how it looks though! Vanity over hunger? It’s not a catwalk. Except…
Can anyone tell me how to stop cats pooing and digging up plants?