Thursday, May 1, 2008

May...waging war!

By now your garden should be budding, blooming and generally bursting out all over!
You should be able to take some of the produce straight from the garden to the table..

I love this time of year!!

BUT....just when you think it’s time to sit back, relax and admire all your hard work… . War breaks out, not between you and the neighbours, between you and the garden pests.

If it's drama that you sigh for,
plant a garden and you'll get it
You will know the thrill of battle
fighting foes that will beset it
If you long for entertainment and
for pageantry most glowing,
Plant a garden and this summer spend
your time with green things growing.

Plant a Garden by Edward A. Guest.

It’s a tricky time and you have to decide which path to take, whether to use natural or chemical methods of defence. We prefer the natural way and never use any chemicals on any part of the garden. We like to give our guests here at ‘Pelican Lake Guesthouse’ freshly picked fruit and veg the way nature intended it. Not only bad for us and the soil, chemicals often kill off more than their intended victims and take some of our garden friends too. One of the best forms of defence is to encourage some of life’s natural predators into the garden. This small army will make your life a lot easier.

Birds often get bad press in the garden but they certainly do more good than harm keeping numerous insects in check and regular hoeing will bring soil pests to the surface for them. Some may take up residence if you incorporate interesting features like bird tables, baths or nest-boxes around your garden.

Frogs and Toads. You can never have enough of these chaps, excellent slug controllers! A modest garden pond or small submerged container will help retain them in your garden, although they will really only make full use of it for breeding.

We have got lots here and also try to encourage Lizards who also like to cool off and take a dip and these will eat all kinds of little unwanted critters and if you are really lucky a Hedgehog or Tortoise may join you to eat the odd slug or two.

I spotted my first BG Hedgehog last night as it goes.I was out late walking the dogs, on leads thankfully, and one of the dogs spotted it.He was close up to our fence so hopefully he will have made it into the garden,fantastic!

There are also lots of things we can do to help our friendly pests help us against the nasty ones.
My Tip of the week is to look at ‘companion planting’ to try and attract the insects you want. For example by planting Marigolds & Nasturtiums close to you tomatoes Hover flies and Ladybirds will come and help keep down the aphid population.

The red haricot beans my brother posted me from the UK are coming along nicely after the rain we have had over the last few weeks.

So just remember some of these ‘soldiers’ before reaching for the insecticide, you might win a battle or two but can’t fight a war singled handed!