Outwit those an­noy­ing pests

The People's Friend - - Gar­den­ing -

If you’re plagued by pests such as aphids and slugs, don’t reach for the chem­i­cals. These pes­ti­cides will also kill ben­e­fi­cial in­sects, such as bees and but­ter­flies. In­stead, think how na­ture keeps a bal­ance.

Did you know a fam­ily of blue tits can eat 100,000 aphids a year? To en­cour­age wildlife into your gar­den, grow a healthy mix of flow­ers, veg­eta­bles and shrubs. These pro­vide food and shel­ter all year round for birds, bats and ben­e­fi­cial in­sects like la­dy­birds and hov­er­flies.

Slugs are a gar­dener’s num­ber one en­emy. I’m of­ten asked how the or­ganic gar­dener copes with­out slug pel­lets, which con­tain poi­son that can af­fect your pets and even the soil. There are a few tricks. Sim­ple plas­tic traps, set in the soil, made from yo­ghurt pots filled with beer, are my favourite!

But any dry ma­te­rial, such as gravel, oats or cof­fee grounds, will cre­ate a bar­rier that de­ters the slither of snails and slugs. Just re­mem­ber to keep it dry – es­pe­cially af­ter rain and damp weather.

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