Get Rid Of Garden Pests The Green Way | Anyclean

updated: 09/11/2023

Many of us dream of having a vegetable garden where we can grow our own vegetables that are cheap and spray-free or even organic. Or else we want to grow flowers that delight the nose and the eye alike. But there’s one thing that always seems to stop us doing this. Or maybe, make that many things. All sorts of garden pests, large and small, seem to swarm in and devour (or otherwise ruin) all that we’ve worked so hard top grow.

Pests that most of us encounter are aphids, birds, slugs and snails, although there are plenty of others, such as codlin moth, various cutworms and the like, and thrips. And larger ones like rabbits turn up in some areas! How do you get rid of them without using poisons?

Birds are pretty when they sit singing in the garden but they can also devastate young green plants and ripe fruits. However, some birds – especially the thrush – are somewhat helpful, as they eat snails. One of the better ways of keeping birds at a minimum is to keep a cat. This may not help protect fruit much, but it will deter the birds from hopping onto your beds of young spinach or whatever and tearing up the seedlings. Netting is often used in commercial orchards, but is rather cumbersome to use in average suburban gardens for fruit trees (however, it’s quite possible to put netting over strawberries). Some people try hanging glittery things that look like cat’s eyes in trees to deter birds. The best way is to pick the crop before the birds get to it – you should find the majority of things are unpecked if you get in early, but you will have to leave the pecked ones behind. This works pretty well with apples, pears, plums and apricots, but isn’t so good with cherries. In my experience, blackcurrants and redcurrants don’t seem to get touched by the birds, even though I have lots of birds in my garden. Maybe this is because they don’t offer perches in convenient locations.

Slugs and snails don’t usually eat fruit – except maybe strawberries. However, they eat green leafy plants and can completely destroy young seedlings. However, the green ways to get rid of them are very many. My personal favourite is to sprinkle substances that deter them around the young plants. Wood ash (not coal ash), coffee grounds from the percolator or espresso machine and crushed eggshells all work well, either alone or in a mixture. Other people use beer traps for slugs and snails. Apparently, slugs and snails are fond of a drop of beer, so if you dig a small hole in such a way that the top of a bowl is level with the ground, put a bowl full of beer in the hole and leave it overnight, the slimy little whatnots will slither in and meet a boozy death. And other people prefer the more violent method of spending an evening with a torch and a hammer.

Aphids are a nuisance not only because they sit all over your vegetables (and roses) sucking sap from them but also because they exude a sticky sweet substance that is perfect for growing all sorts of mould that ruins your plants. Once again, several green methods for dealing with them exist. Warm soapy water sprayed or thrown over the plants works pretty well, but better still is an organic spray that aphids hate but won’t hurt you. To make this spray, boil up about three tablespoons or so of crushed garlic and a generous quantity of dried chilli peppers. Strain this and spray it over the fruit and veg. To make it even more potent, cigarette butts and/or rhubarb leaves can be added to the boil-up, but this is poisonous to you as well as the aphids, so wait for a week or so before eating vegetables treated this way. Ladybirds are your friends when it comes to aphids, as ladybird larvae (which look like severely malformed spiky black caterpillars half a centimetre long) love eating aphids and have a voracious appetite. If you come across a ladybird, rather than invoking it to fly away home, catch it and put it on your roses or aphid infested vegetables and hope that it will settle in.

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.