DAMAGE from pests in the garden can be one of the most disappointing things for a gardener to deal with and working out how to control these pests without the use of poison can be a little daunting when first starting out.
The good news is that nature already has this problem mostly sorted and if we learn some of her ways and work with her we can get some great results.
At Jimboomba Community Garden we have a few tricks up our sleeve to keep pests at bay.
Possibly the most important step in pest control is to identify and know your pest.
Most people will be familiar with the ladybird but did you know that the insect’s larvae will eat up to 60 aphid, scale or other sap suckers a day.
However the 28-spotted lady bird, or the potato beetle is a pest and the adult and their larvae will turn leaves into skeletons.
Simply by not spraying poisons to kill the pest, we allow predators to live.
If we favour the predators, they will do much of the work before we wake up in the morning.
Other predators to be aware of include birds, lizards, wasps and snakes.
Again knowing the enemy is our best defence.
Have you ever noticed ants running up and down your citrus trees?
Have you ever wondered why they are doing this?
Ants are actually smart farmers. They will move scale and aphids to a soft new leaf with high sap flow, then they will come back and milk them and feed on the honeydew they produce.
Observing the ants allows you to get a head start on your attack.
Is one section of your garden failing?
Have you noticed holes in the leaves of your blackberry night shade or caperberry? Well, they are a host plant to the 28 spotted ladybird and by keeping an eye on these plants we can easily monitor the activity of the pest.
This is only an example of the many ways we can work to minimise pests.
Next week we will look at others or you can come down to Jimboomba Community Garden on the first Sunday of February to learn methods of controlling pests in the garden.
You can also come down on these days to receive general advice on improving your garden and caring for your plants.
You can get involved with Jimboomba Community Garden via www.facebook.com.au/jimboombacommunitygarden
Georgie Francis is an experienced horticulturist and leading hand at Jimboomba Community Garden.
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