Unwelcomed Guests: Garden Pests

When we started our garden earlier this spring we were full of hope and optimism.  Certain that we would be reaping bushel baskets full of peppers, tomatoes, squashes, etc., we carefully plotted and staked.  Everything was moving along as planned until...

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The garden variety (pun intended) pests must have gotten a memo about our new garden spot and decided to pay us a visit.  In very short order they gnawed their way through many leaves making our tomato plants look more like swiss cheese plants.  Armed with knowledge, but no forethought we headed off to the feed and seed to collect up the necessary materials.

There are many garden pests.  Among the most wanted list are aphids, caterpillars, slugs and snails.  Any of these hungry intruders could wipe out all of your hard work.  It is important to check your plants daily, if possible, but no less than every other day just to be sure you have any pests or disease under control.

Aphids can harm a plant's growth and transmit disease from one plant to another.  One of the best ways to naturally deal with aphids is to introduce ladybeetles (ladybugs) to your garden.  They LOVE aphids.  If things get out of control, spray with organic insecticide.  Be sure to remove any affected shoots.

Caterpillars and larvae come in a wide variety.  They are capable of completely wiping out a plant in a matter of hours.  Their job is to grow.  To do that they need food... lots of food.  If there are only a few you can remove them by hand.  If it becomes more than you can handle there are some organic contact insecticides available.

Slugs and snails may be slow, but they can still put away the food.  Slugs and snails also can be removed by hand, but there are some other methods of prevention.  One measure of prevention is to limit evening watering.  If you are growing your plants in a container try a ring of copper tape just under the rim of the pot.  Apparently when they touch it they receive an electric shock.  Many people have had success with beer traps or bran traps.  With the beer trap the slug becomes drunk and falls into the trap.  The bran swells up inside them and makes them explode.

savour

... welcomed demise.

pics and tips after the jump...

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More things to consider:

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for insecticides. 

There are many flowering plants that can help.  For example, marigolds are disliked by most garden pests.  Sweet alyssum attracts good bugs to get rid of bad ones.

Make your garden area bird friendly.  They also rid your garden of some unwanted visitiors.

Capture your pests in glass jars and use your computer or books to identify them.  Once identified you will be far better equipped to take them down.

Visit a feed and seed store or

real

 garden center or nursery.  Ask lots of questions.

Learn more about which herbs to plants in your garden that help ward off enemies.  This post only scratches the surface of this topic.  There is plently more information available on the internet or at your local library.