Free Press columnist shares her top tips on how to handle garden pests if you’re new to gardening
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We have stock-piled tinned goods, toilet paper, and alcohol and now, bored at home, we have begun contingency planning.
Reports are that seeds are in short supply as we all make the connection that growing things at home can keep us occupied, improve our mental health and help with the shortages we suspect are going to continue far into the future.
Whatever your experience level you can expect to need to deal with pests and the next things to be in short supply will be pesticides.
How to handle molluscs.
Snails and slugs are a blight, especially on young seedlings.
Most slug and snail treatments commercially available are not pet, child or hedgehog friendly.
Crushed egg-shells are supposed to put them off, as they are sharp.
Beer traps are supposed to drown them.
Bran flakes around the plants encourage them to gorge on dried bran which reportedly expands inside them, bursting them.
Remember that “edible” snails can be harvested and purged on lettuce and then carrot before frying in garlic.Tell the family it’s Michelin star food, not desperation.Blumenthal makes snail porridge, after all. Live the high life in lockdown.
They can be really difficult to get rid of, and anything you do can also hurt your comrades in arms: ladybirds, lacewings, parasitic wasps to name but a few, so please treat with care.
A gentle shake of the plant before treatment should encourage the ladybirds to move on, aphids do not move swiftly, in general.
Try spraying a very dilute solution of washing-up liquid on the affected areas.
The detergent hinders their ability to grip on the plant and also clogs their respiratory system.
Tobacco is heavily taxed and I can imagine that if you smoke or vape, you will be loathed to use your stock-piled fags and juice to get rid of a few aphids.
If you are going to buy some specifically for this purpose, buy the cheapest loose tobacco.
Make a solution (search the internet) to spray onto them.
Nicotine affects their nervous system.