Garden Pest Control
Garden pest control is one thing you will need to get used to if you want to make gardening a pleasant and rewarding experience. You can’t avoid it.
Ants, snails and slugs are generally considered by most people as garden pests that you have to control by either killing them or discouraging them from eating your precious vegetable plants.
However, you must do that without using toxic pesticides because, as you are probably aware, we are all in an “eco-friendly” state of mind.
So, let me offer these suggestions:
Ants have their place in your garden. They aerate the soil and feed on the larvae of other insect pests. However, no matter how useful they may be, I concede that sometimes you need to control them.
The problem is it’s not so easy to find a way to do that without resorting to harmful chemical products. I have come across several methods which purport to offer non-toxic solutions in controlling or killing ants, for example borax and sugar, garlic and cayenne pepper, turmeric powder, etc.
Unfortunately, the jury is still out on many of these “solutions”. Some people swear by them, others not so much. And, unless I’m mistaken, isn’t borax poisonous?
Anyway, for me the single, most effective method to control ants is to locate the anthill and eliminate it. Kill the queen and you will disperse the colony. What you do is bait the workers with something they can’t resist, like petroleum jelly or peanut butter and follow them to the nest. Then, just pour hot water inside and all over the nest.
In saying that, I hope the ants did the right thing by building their nest on your land and not on your neighbor’s! (I’ve actually known someone who faced this dilemma).
Snails and slugs
Snails and slugs will devour your plant in one sitting. Even though they move around slowly, they are very destructive! Assuming that you’re not keen on collecting them by hand, here are a couple of ideas:
Get a few small containers, each about 6 inches (15 cm) wide and 3 inches (7.5 cm) deep and bury them so the rim is roughly at ground level. Bury them in places where the snails and slugs are most likely to be active and half fill them with beer, wine, yeast mixed with water or a 5% sugar water solution. Now, you just wait for the snails and slugs to find your traps, slither in and drown.
I haven’t tried this one but I’ve heard it works very well. Dilute 1 part strong expresso with 10 parts water. Fill a spray bottle with this mixture and spray your seedlings and surrounding areas thoroughly. The snails and slugs will consume the caffeine and die.
By adopting non-toxic garden pest control and procedures in this way, you will ensure that you get to eat healthy, organic food which has not been exposed in any way to synthetic chemicals.