Caterpillars don’t always turn into beautiful butterflies


Today’s post is about garden pests.

I grew up being sent out ¬†into the garden by mum with butterfly net in hand to catch cabbage moths or was given the job of squishing snails. I have to say I found great delight with the crunching sound they made under my gumboot clad feet. But we only have Miss Six every second weekend, very animal friendly and probably wouldn’t find the same delight in killing poor innocent bugs. As a result we have had to turn to other means of pest control.

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Our lovely Italian broccoli plot has become inundated by caterpillars thanks to the ever persistent white cabbage moth. I’m not a big fan of using chemicals on food plants as we are going to eat them but it had gotten to the point that if I didn’t do something fast we wouldn’t have any plants left so we went out and brought Derris Dust, which I understand is classed as organic but isn’t quite the approach I would’ve liked to have taken.

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Today I went to check on the plants since we have had rain the past few days and of course the little critters were back in full force but we also had a lovely little Preying Mantis that has taken up residence on one of the plants. I re-treated all but that plant with Derris Dust so that we have a little more time to set up my new approach. Preying Mantis are known for eating caterpillars so encouraging them onto the plants is something that is very favorable.

 

Kiwi’s are known for inventing new things and this one is one that works. With our second bed as soon as the seedlings started to sprout I decided to be proactive and stop the moths from even getting a chance at them. I took my old mosquito net and built the enclosure you see above, I’d for some reason hung on to it for quite a few years and it was sitting in the back of a wardrobe getting no use. So I got my partner to hammer up some posts which are actually our old bed slats that were sitting in the shed and draped the mosquito net ¬†over it tying the entrance and nailing the sides down so it wouldn’t blow off in the wind. So far it has worked wonderfully and cost nothing, now we just need to find another old mosquito net to put over our broccoli.

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There are a lot of different ways to prevent annoying pests from destroying your garden, I picked up a permaculture book from the library today and it states that with the right nutrients plants can actually fend pests off themselves, which is probably true but it isn’t something I know much about so would require a bit more research before I give it a go.

Realistically anyone can come up with new ways to help their plants fend off pests with a little thought, a little creativity and a little time you can easily find something that works for you. My nana makes bug traps with are half buried into the garden for snails and slugs from I think some form of sweet alcohol.

On a side note our seedlings in the second bed have now all successfully sprouted and are growing fast, we have a row of carrots, a row of peas (no need to stake kind), a row of green beans and a row of butter beans. I’m unsure if I need to set up trellis for the beans if anyone could let me know that would be great. My grandpa always grew the best beans, actually he had the best vegie garden which took up their whole back yard on a typical sloped wellington section. Hopefully I can live up to his standards of gardening.

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