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Hungry Garden Pests

A guide to controlling pests that feed on plants by chewing foliage, stems and roots

Snails and slugs

They eat everything, especially tender seedlings and young plants. They can be found in damp, dark areas and are most active at night. You can protect crops by placing protective circles around plants using Diatomaceous Earth, Iron Chelate, or ground coffee. Another option is to set a beer trap. You can hand pick but this is time consuming. Alternatively, you can let your backyard chickens have access for a few hours every week but this is only suitable for established gardens as chickens can also be destructive to young seedlings.

Butterflies and moths They lay their eggs on plants and their larvae, the caterpillar, feed on your crop. These pests can be controlled by increasing predatory bugs such as lacewings and ladybirds into your garden. Another option is exclusion netting to prevent infestation. Cabbage White Butterfly are territorial and can be deterred with white butterfly decoys or broken egg shells.

Earwigs and slaters

They are beneficial to your compost, but are bad bugs in the garden. They can gather into large groups and cause significant damage, especially devastating to the roots of young seedlings.

You can protect crops by sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth or Iron Chelate around crops. Another option is to set traps but these should be emptied daily to control populations. Place a saucer of soy and oil at soil level and cover with an upside down pot filled with damp newspaper.

Author: Karen Miller

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We are gardeners, farmers, and first time producers of our own backyard fodder, who meet monthly to learn about living and growing sustainably in the Hunter Valley and surrounds.

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