Probably every garden enthusiast or amateur gardener would be upset when seeing holes in plants’ leaves, half-eaten strawberries, or destroyed lettuce seedlings in his own garden. So why not get rid of the wrongdoers as soon as possible? Especially in the own kitchen garden most gardeners would rather renounce chemical herbicides so that one can enjoy organic quality without residues in fruits or vegetables. But which method or biological helper is best suited for fighting vermin?
The eternal battle against snails
To protect the delicate, lovingly grown plants, there are many methods without using chemicals. Starting with the garden structure, your kitchen garden can be framed with plants which snails do not like at all. These include for example Indian cress, lavender, lobelia and peonies. Densely planted they form a barrier for snails. A snail fence can also protect the kitchen garden against these invaders. The fence needs to have a very smooth surface and an overhang at the upper edge which the snails cannot overcome. The recommended fence height is about 15 cm, the overhang height should be 10 cm. Inside of the vegetable bed, however, all snails need to be collected manually. We do not really recommend to use beer traps as they can attract the snails from the entire area.
When watering your plants, the best time to do that is in the morning. Ideally, you water directly at the buttom of the plants and not the complete area. The dry spots inbetween will make it difficult for snails to move in the vegetable bed because they require moist soil. As snails are nocturnal, if you water in the morning, the soil will have enough time to get dry again until they start moving in the evening.
If the garden is designed in a way that hedgehogs and birds find a shelter, you can also count on their help in fighting the snails.
Useful creatures versus vermin
Nature provides a whole army to fight vermin in the garden. Diligent assistants in pest control are the parasitic wasp and the digger wasp. Both destroy the vermin by laying their eggs in caterpillars or plant louses so that their young will have food.
Among the enemies of plant louses you can also find the ladybeetle. Ladybeetles very often are specially bred to get to grips with plant louses in greenhouses.
Ants help keeping the soil loose, remove lots of garden waste, and additionally exterminate a rash of vermin.
When it’s getting dark, rose chafer and caterpillar hunter set to work. Unnoticed, they liberate vegetable gardens from insects that tamper with the roots of the plants.
In order to make as many useful creatures as possible feel comfortable in your garden, you should offer lairs and hibernation options. Very popular are insect hotels made from slices of wood, bark or perforated bricks, small piles of twigs or fallen leaves, dry stone walls and small stone piles.
In order to retain the volunteers actively, you should create a food source by having a species-rich garden. Many beneficial insects require flowering plants which can be found in the garden the entire growing season. Most popular are shrubs, cornflowers, wild carrots, bee friend, dill and chervil.
In addition, it is important to direct lightening in the garden towards the ground or to switch off the lights when returning back into the house. Otherwise, many beneficial insects are attracted by the light and might get burned or swirl around the light until they are completely exhausted.
As you can see, we can accommodate valuable, beneficial creatures in the garden with little effort and confidently renounce chemical pesticides. Even species which have become resistant to chemical substances can thus be eliminated in a natural way.