This month our guest blogger is wonderful Tess from Ladybird Plantcare who has been kind enough to put together some suggestions to help with those unwanted garden guests using biological control.
So you've planned your plot, read up on the best growing conditions and have a host of tips ready to deploy to make this year the best yet in your veg plot but have you made a plan for stopping the insects getting to your harvest before you do? Here's a quick rundown of the pest you might come across and what you can do to stop them in their tracks.
Crops affected - aphids love most edibles, you'll find them on Tomatoes, Carrots, Chillis, the list goes on...
They breed very quickly and feed on plant material. They leave a sticky residue called honeydew that attracts ants and can also lead to fungus and diseases.
How to get rid of aphids - being quick off the mark is going to make things easier. If you had an aphid problem last year then start spraying with a contact insecticide like Horticultural Soap or introduce their natural predators just before you noticed the problem in previous years. This could be any time from April on the whole.
Browse natural Aphid controls.
Crops affected - whitefly are typically found in glasshouses and polytunnels where they enjoy the warmth and light. Whitefly attack brassicas, tomato plants, cucumbers and peppers.
Apart from making a real nuisance of themselves, whitefly are also sap sucking, meaning they feed on plant material.
Crops affected - Caterpillars eat holes in your crops, especially brassicas. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, swede among others can be obliterated by hungry caterpillars.
How to get rid of caterpillars - a mix of nematodes that are contained in the Fruit and Veg nematode pack can be used to control caterpillars, find them here.
Crops affected - Cabbage, other brassicas and onions suffer from root damage from the larvae/maggots of these pests feeding. They kill recently transplanted young plants and seedlings. Many crops are made inedible from this family of pests.
Crops affected - as we all know, slugs really aren't fussy and you will find holes and slimy trails all over your crops. What you might not be immediately aware of is the damage being done underground. Over 90% of the slugs in your garden/plot/patch are underground feeding on root material.
How to get rid of slugs - use nematodes especially for slugs (Nemaslug) as soon as the soil temperature reaches 5°C and every 6 weeks throughout the growing season. Find the nematodes here.
There are a range of other pests including thrips, red spider mite and others that can chomp away on your tasty treats, if you have a pest you can't identify or would just like some advice email email@example.com.