Ridding bugs in the garden is not really the way we should turn our mindset. Letting the garden be a bit wild is the best action you can take to create a happy habitat for beneficial insects to do their job of taking out the bad boys for you this summer. In addition, having some great natural pest and fungal killers on hand that won’t harm the good guys will keep your garden happy and healthy.
Insects that do a lot of damage to your garden are Whitefly, Aphid, Wooly Aphid and Ants. Their ravage feasting weakens the plants immune system as well as your vegetables nutrition load so are best not turned a blind eye to.
Whitefly – The ‘sucker’ who can really take hold in your green house and will billow up in clouds as you walk past an infested citrus tree or Kale leaf.
Control of Whitefly can be met with an organic solution of Neem oil. 10ml mixed with 1 litre of water and sprayed every two weeks.
Sticky fly traps available in every Palmers store should be hung in every garden bed! Their bright yellow colour attracts the flying Whitefly and Aphid. When flying pests land for a closer look – they won’t be taking off again. Since Bees love Blue then the traps are only a risk to the pests. Once the traps are full of dead bugs, simply throw away in the bin and pop up another for all year protection that isn’t affected by rainfall.
Aphid – A blast from the hose does a certain amount of unsettling and control of Aphid infestation; however a spray of Kiwicare’s Super Spraying oil is a natural pyrethrum based spray I use on my ornamentals. Neem does feature as my favourite do-it-all spray and does well to manage both edible and ornamental plants. The best thing about Neem is the spray affects the life cycle and breeding ability of pests so as to better control the ongoing cycle.
Introducing Aphid munchers like Ladybugs is the best control yet of Aphid. One Ladybug may eat as many as 50 Aphids a day. Ladybugs love mint, fennel, dill, yarrow and dandelions; so be sure to intersperse these with your veggies, shrubs and perennials to protect vulnerable plants.
Wooly Aphid – As cute as these guys look with their little fluffy knickers they are not so fancy pants! Damage from these guys show up as twisted and curled leaves, yellowing leaves, branch dieback and cankers on roots and limbs. Wooly Aphid also love beans so I plant Nasturtium near by as a deterrent.
Ants – Sooty mould on Citrus can be from the sweet sap excreted by Ants which turns black and affects the plants ability to photosynthesize. This in turn makes it difficult for the tree to produce the potential quantity of fruit. Regular spraying with Super Spraying oil, Neem oil and planting Tansy beneath the trees is a great way of providing control.
Bringing the good guys in is a simple of letting the weeds grow in a lot of cases. A fling around of a few seeds bought at your local Palmers store will help. I love Buckwheat. Dill, Fennel, Tansy, Phacelia, Bergamot, Mint, Yarrow and Alyssum. I’ve already been in store to stock up for our Kerikeri lifestyle garden. Between Christmas and New Year I will be having my first go on a little yellow digger… ripping out all the Yucca and then sowing packets of beneficial seeds to cover the grounds while I save my pennies for Autumn stone fruit trees.
The best thing about attracting beneficial insects that are predatory to nasty bugs is you have an excuse for not keeping your garden so tamed as the Jones’. “I’m helping the bugs” is my response to a garden that looks a little wild.