How to Deal With Pests
Your garden will never be completely free of pests, but damage can be limited by creating barriers to keep them at bay.
Step 1: Catch Problems Early
Check plants often for the first signs of a pest attack, since small numbers are easier to deal with and rarely cause serious damage. However, some insect pests are hard to see, so also look out for leaf damage or curling, droppings, and sticky honeydew on foliage. For common pests, such as slugs and carrot flies, it’s best to assume that they will target your crops and to take preventative measures, because by the time you see the damage your crops may be beyond repair.
Step 2: Prevent Attacks
Try planting flowers alongside crops to attract beneficial insects, such as lacewings, that prey on pests. Remember that pesticides may kill beneficial insects as well as villains, so use them carefully and always follow the instructions. Barriers, such as fleece and netting, will effectively keep pests and plants apart, while sticky sheets in the greenhouse can help to reduce pest numbers. Biological controls are also effective when used correctly. In addition, buy pest-resistant cultivars and reduce soil-borne pest numbers by using fresh compost in your pots.
Use sticky plastic sheets in the greenhouse to trap flying pests.
Copper tape fixed around cloches or pots helps to deter slugs and snails. The copper reacts with their slime to give them an uncomfortable electric shock that stops them in their tracks.
Netting prevents hungry birds and insects from devouring fruit crops. Support it with canes so that it doesn’t damage the plants, and weigh it down at the base to prevent it blowing away.
Barriers can prevent damage from flying insects, such as carrot fly. This pest flies close to the ground so a pot and barrier that together measure two feet high will prevent attacks.