Pests are the gardener’s biggest headache.
They comprise of those who live in the soil eg millipedes, cutworms, leather-jackets; moths, butterflies, night-feeding slugs and snails or sap-sucking insects called aphids (greenfly and blackfly).
They can also be larger animals like mice, rabbits, cats, birds.
Some simple preventative measures to minimise pests are
BALANCE the soil
GARDEN HYGIENE – remove weeds, rubbish rotten wood, old plants to clear out all potential hiding places for pests.
DON’T OVERCROWD plants as air will not be able to circulate and fungal diseases may spread rapidly. Overcrowded plants will also have to compete for nutrients and water and may become weaker and less resistant.
sow seeds in SEED TRAY before planting out the established seedlings
study LIFE CYCLE of PESTS by varying the sowing and planting out time for seedlings.
COMPANION PLANTING – French marigolds between tomato and pepper plants will lessen whitefly attacks
PROTECTION PLANTING – plant tomatoes as far as possible from potatoes to cut down the risk of potato blight.
You can use some safe pesticides which are approved for use by organic gardeners or through biological control – using natural enemies to harness the pest eg ladybirds to feed on aphids.