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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.