Spring is the best time to for gardening but no matter how hard you've trained,
or how thoroughly you've planned, there's simply no way to adequately prepare,
either physically or mentally, for the massive sprint that is spring. There’s so
much to do and so little time.
Nothing is more disappointing than to plant seedlings then come out into the
garden the next morning and find they’ve attacked by insects during the night.
The main culprits are snails and slugs and caterpillars. Over the longer term
other pests such as aphids or slaters can also ruin young plants.
The main defence against any pest is to ensure the seedlings grow as quickly as
possible to withstand attack. Seedlings planted in poor soil or dry conditions
may also be at risk of dying from dehydration or malnutrition if insects do not
eat them first.
To give seedlings the best chance of survival you need to prepare the soil and
fertilise. Apply plenty of organic matter and regular applications of Thrive All
purpose soluble to keep them growing strongly. Remove debris such as old bricks
or sheets of tin that provide the perfect environment for snails and slaters.
Also remove nearby weeds that may harbor insect pests.
Rotate different vegetable crops so no particular insect pest has the chance to
multiply into a huge population, and encourage beneficial insects into your
garden to keep populations of pest insects down naturally.
So if you’ve done all this but your seedlings are still under enemy fire there’s
a load of garden criminals that could be loitering in your yard. We all know the
damage snails can do to the garden. Zap them with a snail bait like Bliztem but
it’s pretty powerful stuff so you only need to use about a teaspoon per square
metre. Spread it out and don’t leave it in little mounds.
Some caterpillars grow up and turn into beautiful butterflies but there is
nothing beautiful about what they do to seedlings. Leaves that have been munched
on are a surefire sign, they’ve been in on the prowl in your yard.
There’s loads of species of caterpillars but they all respond to Yates Success,
it’s based on a low toxic natural bacteria that gets into the cuticle of the
leaf and gets rid of those creepy crawleys as they chew.
This group of criminals will suck the life out of your seedling but there’s a
couple of ways you can end this. Naturasoap is a contact spray that literally
smothers the insects. You could also use Confidor, which is a low toxic systemic
product. That means it gets into the sap system of the plant and kills the
sapsuckers as they feed.
Slater’s love to hide in and around old bricks and rubbish so if you can get rid
of their favourite hiding spot, you’ve gone a good way to getting rid of them
but if you need some more help Baysol controls these tiny grey beetles. The
application is the same as Blitzem.
There are a huge range of insects and pests that can attack your garden and
there is a large range of products that are sure to get your seedlings growing