Sarah’s Top Tips for Growing your Garden Organically

Friday 25th September 2020

Growing your garden organically isn’t all roses, bumblebees and butterflies. Luckily, nature often has the solution at hand to help you protect your plants. Sarah from the Yeo Valley Organic Garden has shared her top tips for controlling pests with natural methods, helping to put nature first.

  1. Don’t panic! Let nature do its thing.

A pest is a delicious snack for someone, so don’t be too hasty to wipe them out. By tolerating your pests, you are providing a valuable food source for your predators. Patience is a virtue with organic gardening and although it may take mammoth self-control, give your predators a meal and they will do the work for you.

  1. The birds are our best friends for lunching on pests

    Feed your birds wisely

Here at Yeo Valley Organic Garden we feed the birds generously throughout the winter when they most need it. But remove the feeders in spring, to encourage them to focus on eating our pests.

  1. Give your plants tough love

Don’t over cosset your youngsters but certainly don’t put them out into the veg patch until they are big and strong enough to survive slugageddon. A baby lettuce is nectar to a slug and an attack by cabbage whites will completely destroy a brassica. Here we try to grow everything in pots (old yogurt pots of course) until they are big enough to thrive.

Sarah at the Organic Garden
  1. Drink more coffee

We have tried various methods of ‘barrier control’ in the case of slugs and snails and have found two methods to be effective. Sprinkling coffee grounds (not decaf) around precious plants in a generous circle seems to work well for us. We also recommend copper rings. You can make your own by buying the copper from a roofing supplier by the roll – it’s a much cheaper alternative than buying ready-made.

  1. Cover up

When in doubt, cover your brassicas with a fine horticultural mesh. Make sure its tight and hole free, those butterflies are very determined…


The Yeo Valley Organic Garden is open to visitors on certain days throughout spring and summer – please note that guests are required to book in advance – click here for more information.

Comments on “Sarah’s Top Tips for Growing your Garden Organically”

  • I knew about copper but did not know about tea or coffee Have tried egg shells but they did not work . Slugs and snails have a very bad effect on young plants and ate most of our beans this year. Healthy slugs not us.

    Clifford on 23rd August 2021 at 8:22 am

  • I was pleased to read your organic garden tips. Coffee and tea are two that I will try next spring. Copper bands I heard about from my daughter-in-law who uses it for her green beans in pots.

    Pamela on 9th December 2020 at 3:17 pm

  • I didn’t know about the copper rings will definitely try that. I can’t drink coffee so are used tea bags and alternative ; I use decaf tho

    Jan on 23rd November 2020 at 11:30 am

  • Definately coffee grounds works a treat. I usually feed the birds all year, might have to ease off in the spring, not sure I could stop completely, I love watching them too much. Tracy

    Tracy on 19th November 2020 at 10:26 am

  • Yes
    More information on how the farms runs organically would be really interesting
    and more tips please.

    chris Watson on 16th November 2020 at 9:33 am

  • An interesting item, A little more about how the farm works would be nice and how the weather in your area works for or against you. Keep them coming.

    John on 24th October 2020 at 4:02 pm

  • Super tips (I didn’t know about the copper deterrent); thank you, Jen x

    Jennifer on 22nd October 2020 at 10:42 am

  • Some good tips, thanks. I have planted turnips in a large box, so will have fun separating. No coffee grounds, but our small local garden centre has been stocking organic manure, so trying to dig this in. Could you please blog planting through these months? My handicapped son and I work in Battersea Park on Tuesdays, just planted broad beans, cauliflower, spinach

    Suzy on 22nd October 2020 at 8:33 am

  • You suggest sprinkling coffee grounds around precious plants, which I will try… do tea grounds also work as a deterrent to slugs/snails?

    carol on 21st October 2020 at 5:47 pm

  • I use cardboard to cover beds for the winter to help keep the weeds in check at my allotment
    Great you are promoting organic practices

    STEPHANIE on 21st October 2020 at 4:01 pm

  • I find using coffee and loose tea works

    Helen Mitchell on 21st October 2020 at 2:51 pm

  • Thank you for the tips – very useful.

    Maureen on 21st October 2020 at 2:16 pm

  • Very welcome advice, and helpful! Why does decaf coffee not work with slug control? Just curious.

    Lindsey Shaw-Miller on 21st October 2020 at 1:21 pm

  • so its coffee to beat the slugs? OK Thank you.

    Pamela on 13th October 2020 at 4:11 pm

  • Very interesting information, thank you

    Deborah on 3rd October 2020 at 10:08 am

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