This is an ongoing fight in the garden – are you going to get to your kale first, or are the aphids? Something has dug up a plant. There is mysterious skat on the garden path. Why has your dog not alerted you sooner?
Wildlife battles can include everything from bears to fungus and beyond. A few days ago I had to pull ALL of my dill plants because they were so infested with a bug that it had curled and was drooping from the weight. A week before that, a buck got into my FENCED yard and ripped the tops of my strawberries. Last year I had a long battle with a mouse family in my compost bin. My pear tree has a fungus, I lost my kale to aphids last season. You know how enraging these events can be!
But before I call a deer cull to avenge my kale, set up mouse traps, or nuke the ground with chemicals, I need to do my part. Can you think of a time humans were reactive instead of preventative? That tends to be our jam. And it’s not the good strawberry kind either.
Growing your own garden is great, but with it you must also assume responsibility. Where there is food, there will be animals, and if you don’t want the animals around, you need to be on top of things. That doesn’t mean spending all day swatting bugs away, but it could mean some of the following:
Fencing your yard if costs allow
Harvesting food as soon as it is ready
Companion-planting to deter bugs
Maintaining your compost to deter rodents and bigger animals (eg balance the food, air, and water aspects to your pile, always cover with browns)
Spraying off visible bugs with water
Squishing bugs with your fingers as you check plants
Natural remedies for fungi (sometimes a baking soda solution)
Growing flowers amongst your vegetables to encourage bigger predators for the bugs (eg yarrow for ladybugs)
Using fabric tunnels to cover certain crops
Having a sacrificial garden in another area (eg a fruit tree in the front yard as a decoy) or planting more than intended (ie some for you, some for them)
These are just some things you can try before getting radical. Also, accept that there is balance here, and we are all neighbours!
What have you come up against this year or past seasons? What have you tried to prevent some of these things? Good luck!
In love and compost,
How frustrating, Nadine! We’ve had challenges too. Leaf rollers on berry plants. I think we got them early by crushing the leaves. Aphids on plants too, which a spray of water seems to have helped keep them down. The black aphids went after my peonies dropping from the ornamental elderberry in the front yard. Sprayed them with water too, as they are small and their bodies can’t take much. Deer have eaten the young phlox plants in my front yard, so Joseph sprinkled powdered blood meal around them – we’ll see how that works out. It does seem to be a battle at times. However, the good news is that the cool, wet spring is going to result in a bumper crop of berries of all kinds!
Yes some of those here. The most annoying this year is badgers, digging everywhere totally destroyed my sweetcorn which did brilliantly the previous year