Organic Farming: Grow Better Vegetables – Top 5 Vegetable Garden Pests And How To Control Them

Organic Farming: Grow Better Vegetables – Top 5 Vegetable Garden Pests And How To Control Them

5.Cabbage Root Fly The cabbage root fly is an almost ever-present threat. The female cabbage fly lays her eggs near the stems of a brassica. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae then enter the stem and roots and feed, thereby destroying the fragile root system and either killing or greatly weakening the plant.

The solution is simple; a so-called brassica (or cabbage) collar can be purchased, or made from an old piece of carpet underlay. To make one, cut a square of the material and then cut a slit from one edge up the middle of the square. You can now slide the square collar around the stem. When the cabbage fly lays her eggs near the brassica, the larvae will not be able to get access to the soil due to the barrier and therefore they cannot reach the roots.

4.Carrot Root Fly The larvae of the carrot root fly eats into the carrot leaving tunnels through the carrot. These tunnels frequently blacken and rot leaving the only option after a bad attack to dig the whole crop up and throw it away.

The simplest treatment is prevention; the carrot fly is low flying and generally cannot fly above 18 inches so simply erect a barrier around your carrots that is 2 foot tall. Polythene, horticultural fleece and fine meshes such as micromesh can all be used to make this barrier.

3.Aphids Aphids are often considered more of a greenhouse pest, although they can pose serious problems outside. Last year, the grey coloured mealy (or cabbage) aphid infested my kale to such an extent that my only option was to dig up and compost the plants.

The best organic solution to controlling aphids is to make your garden attractive to their enemies, such as hoverflies, ladybirds and lacewings. Some retailers stock ladybirds that you can introduce to your garden or greenhouse to feed on the aphids. Note however that you do need a supply of aphids for the ladybirds to feed on. Allowing nettles to grow near your vegetable garden can be beneficial in this instance as the nettle aphid only attacks nettles but provides a food source to attract and keep your ladybird population.

If you can’t attract enough ladybirds to eat the aphids for you, then the next best method is to use insecticidal soap that will kill any aphids it comes into contact with. There are some soaps on the market that are appropriate for organic use.

2.Cabbage Butterfly Probably one of the best-known garden pests, particularly if you grow any brassicas, is the Cabbage butterfly. The adult butterfly lays her eggs on the underside of leaves, either singly in the case of the small cabbage white, or in clumps in the case of the large. When the caterpillars hatch they will devour the crops with devastating effect, entire plants can be demolished overnight.

If you are an organic gardener, prevention is the only reliable option, place netting or horticultural fleece over the crops to prevent the butterfly from reaching them. In the case of netting, ensure that it is not touching the plants otherwise the butterfly may still be able to lay the eggs on the leaves. With a small number of caterpillars it may be possible to pick them off by hand and squash any eggs with your fingers, but is a time consuming job and it becomes impossible with a significant infestation.

There are some chemical treatments available and these will be you only option if you haven’t netted your crop before the butterflies arrive in force. Unfortunately a number of the previously popular treatments have recently been banned in Europe.

1.Slugs The number 1 pest, slugs can be the most devastating of all the garden pests. In sufficient numbers they can destroy whole beds of plants overnight and can sometimes leave you wandering what happened. Slugs will attack almost anything from young seedlings to potatoes still growing underground with devastating vigour.

There are a number of ways to prevent damage by slugs; the most common by far is the humble slug pellet. Slug pellets are fairly effective but like all traditional treatments only target slugs on top of the soil, not those underground. Also slug pellets are not particularly effective after heavy rain, just when you need the protection the most.

Copper strips can be useful as the slug gets a shock on contact so it acts like a kind of electric fence for slugs. These coppers strips are really only useful on pots as you have to be certain that no slugs exist in the area you are protecting.

The beer trap, or “slug pub” works reasonably well and involves putting a small amount of beer in the bottom of a jar that is then dug into the ground. In my opinion the best feature of this method is that you get to drink the rest of the beer! The daily emptying of the jars and refilling is far too labour intensive not to mention that rain reduces their effectiveness.

My preferred method for removing slugs is now the nematode “phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita” currently marketed in the UK under the name Nemaslug. The nematodes are naturally occurring in the UK and are harmless to pets, children, animals and birds. They are easy to apply using a watering can and one dose provides protection for 6 weeks.

Author Zac Mace Resource: Zac Mace is a keen vegetable gardener in his spare time when he is not working, entertaining his two daughters or updating his website dedicated to Cold Frame Gardening.

For further information about using nematodes to control slugs visit Nemaslug.

Article Source: Grow Better Vegetables – Top 5 Vegetable Garden Pests and How to Control Them Article From: Organic Gardening Articles