The Telegram (St. John's)
Ready for battle with garden pests
“A bug’s guide to garden pests. Number 1: the gardener.” — Unknown
“Anybody who wants to rule the world should try to rule a garden first.” — Unknown
Ilove nature. I don’t, however, love how some of our charming nature friends turn into the biggest kind of pests during the veggie-growing season. I have stocked up on supplies and I’m ready for battle. If you grow your own veggies, you know exactly what I’m talking about. My two biggest intruders are birds and cabbage moths.
Don’t get me wrong, I love waking up to the birds chirping and fluttering around the trees at this time of year.
There’s truly nothing better than stepping out into the garden with your morning coffee in hand and listening to them sing. The thing is, they love my garden too.
Every year, I get so excited about my blueberry bushes forming perfect little white bell flowers, which, in turn, will eventually turn into blueberries. Well, they’re supposed to. Problem is, the lovely, singing birds fancy them for breakfast and I’m left with less than a palm full of berries.
Same thing goes for my beans. Sigh. What’s the absolute worst invader? The cabbage moth. I have no love for them — zero.
You’ve definitely seen them. They look like little white butterflies hovering around your garden.
It’s the last thing you want landing on your crop. They lay the most awful eggs in your cabbage, brussel sprouts, leafy greens and broccoli which turn into caterpillars that can limb your garden goods overnight. Poof! Gonzo!
Essentially, anything green is breakfast, lunch and supper to them.
Cabbage moths have taken up too much of my time over the years. The green caterpillars are so hard to find as they blend in really well. I swear, all they do is eat and poop. That’s it. They serve no purpose other than to eat up all your veggies.
You know it’s serious business when you ask Santa for a variety of mesh and frost coverings to appear under the tree to prep for the growing season ahead.
I was looking for material that was breathable, lets the water in but keeps the pests out. Something I didn’t have to take off and put back on all the time. Yep, I’m a bit of a lazy gardener.
I do not have a professional setup. My neighbours on the other hand built a big greenhouse this year and a bunch of small raised beds with covers.
I watched them with admiration and turned to my garden to cover my blueberry plants with mesh by propping it up with bamboo stakes I got from the dollar store and holding it down by using thumbtacks in the fence.
Hey now, don’t judge, it works. For my lettuce bed, I use a breathable frost covering, which does the trick at this time of year. Once they harden off and grow a bit more I’ll trade it for the mesh covering.
For my pepper plants, I use a nifty plastic covering we got a few years back from Lee Valley. It‘s great as it serves a couple of purposes. It keeps cabbage moths away, protects from cool nights and it’s breathable at the bottom.
I follow a few great gardening groups on social media. They can be a wealth of knowledge and filled with great ideas and tips.
I love these groups because they typically range from people who have been growing veggies for years to others who are just starting out.
Through these groups, I have learned that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are savvy at being creative with recycling and using things around the house rather than going out and buying everything new. Like the saying goes, “they could put an arse in a cat.”
“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.” — Gertrude Jekyll
Although, I don’t have any love for garden pests, I am passionate about getting rid of them. I’m a woman on a mission — a pest warrior!
I absolutely love growing my own veggies. Do you?
Hopefully I was able to provide you with a few ideas as home grown veggies are definitely fit to eat.