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Natural Gardening Blog

Your Healthy Garden – pests to look out for and how to treat them

1. Tips for creating a healthy garden in 2019

The growing season is well and truly upon us, and creating a healthy space to grow is the best way to really make a start.

Begin by preparing the soil, remove any weeds and their roots by hand, if the area you plan to grow in has a lot of weeds use a glyphosate-free weedkiller such as WeedFree Plus. It is fast acting and long lasting against weed re-growth and treated areas can be re-planted after just one day. 

Dig over the soil, digging and turning the earth will expose any larvae from garden pests and the birds will happily take care of these for you! The soil is ready for sowing seeds directly or transplanting seedlings that have been grown under cover in a greenhouse or warm window.

Every time you grow something in the garden nutrients are removed, it is important to top these nutrients up year on year with a good fertiliser. For established gardens and container plants March is the ideal time to begin fertilising to provide an early boost to help make them strong and resilient. Organic Multipurpose Plant Food contains natural raw materials and all of the key nutrients, micronutrients and enzymes that plants need and can be used all around the garden.

If you plan to plant new plants this season consider adding varieties that will attract beneficial insects and wildlife to the garden; flowering plants such as roses, buddleja and honeysuckle make great choices, fragrant herbs such as lavender and oregano are loved by bees, whilst wildflowers provide a haven for all sorts of insects and wildlife. The birds, ladybirds and hedgehogs that are attracted by the plants will feed on the pests in your garden whilst butterflies and bees will pollinate plants. 

These are just some of the many tasks you can do to get started creating a healthy garden in the spring, for more tips for the rest of the seasons we have compiled our top 10 tips that can be easily implemented to achieve a healthy growing space.

10 DIY tips to create a healthy garden

1. Select plants that encourage beneficial insects to help tackle bugs naturally
2. Install a birdbath and feeder to attract garden birds
3. Remove weeds and their roots by hand
4. During slug season water in the morning to prevent damage from slugs and snails
5. Select weed, feed and control products that are gentle on the garden and wildlife
6. Use electric or battery powered lawn equipment rather than petrol
7. Make your own compost using garden and kitchen waste
8. Collect rainwater to use in the garden
9. Deadhead and prune regularly to encourage new growth
10. If you can, start replacing plastic pots for terracotta or wood

2. Spring pest control

One of the first steps to creating a healthy garden is to get common pests in check. 

Preparation is everything when it comes to tackling bugs in the garden, some pests can be unpredictable, some remain unseen and others are just plain prolific!

Take slugs for example, just one slightly warmer, damp evening in March or April is all it takes for eggs to hatch and adults to emerge. Newly hatched juveniles are the ones to watch with ferocious appetites, working their way through prized plants and edibles. Slugs and snails young and old prefer the tender green leaves and stems so it is worth keeping a close eye on any young plants and vegetables that are growing and keep a stock of slug and snail killer so that help is always at hand.

Ladybirds are one of the best natural pest controllers to have around the garden, they will feast on sucking and biting insects such as aphids, white, green and blackfly, thrips and spidermites to a certain extent, but a good bug spray that works against a number a different pests, while carrying organic gardening credentials, will be a huge benefit to have on hand.

Then there are the invisible pests that cause damage beneath the soil too, the notorious vine weevil larvae, the small white grubs which grow into destructive beetles that are black in colour and will make short work of a plant’s root system, especially container plants. Nematodes are the best solution for keeping the grubs under control.

It is far too easy to pick any old treatment to get the job done but it is worth taking the time to consider what the wider effects are on the garden and wildlife. For gardeners who prefer to use alternatives in their garden to keep it healthy inside and out our range includes environmentally conscious pest control options for tackling snails, sucking and biting insects, vine weevils and more.

Stock up on pest control essentials to ensure you are ready for the busy gardening season ahead.

3. Gardening is good for you

Gardening is officially good for you. Whilst gardeners have always known this, people of all ages and abilities are increasingly using it as a way to escape, relieve stress and to combat mental health challenges.

Our fast paced digital lifestyles are stressing us out but gardening and spending time outdoors has been proven to help. The combination of being out in the fresh air, concentrating on the garden, the smells, the sounds of insects and wildlife can bring fantastic therapeutic benefits, whilst planting, tending and watching the plants and vegetables grow in the garden is hugely rewarding.

Luckily we can now all take part in gardening without even having a garden through allotments and community and urban gardening projects, we’re even creating gardens indoors using houseplants.

We are also becoming much more conscious of where our food comes from and whether it is being produced ethically and how it is being treated when it is grown. One of the benefits of growing your own produce is that you know exactly how it has been treated, giving added peace of mind.

Our top products for getting started on your new vegetable patch

Sluggo® Slug & Snail Killer | With a preference for the tender leaves and salads, slugs can make short work of a fresh veg patch in early spring, use Sluggo® or Sluggo® Ultra to combat these slimy pests. Sluggo® contains a natural active ingredient that also occurs in nature and any uneaten pellets will convert into the plant nutrients iron and phosphate. The composition of the formula means no harmful substances will remain in the soil and the pellets can be used to control pests around edibles and ornamental plants.

Super Strength Cat Repellent | Deter cats from trampling new shots and using freshly dug soil as a litter tray with Super Strength Cat Repellent. The long lasting odour masks the territorial markings left by cats.

BugFree | Keep pests such as aphids, caterpillars and beetles in check using the neonicotinoid-free BugFree Bug and Larvae Killer. It contains a natural active ingredient and is certified by the Organic Farmers & Growers Association.

WeedFree | Tackle weeds before you start growing in your new vegetable patch. , WeedFree is glyphosate-free and is effective against stinging nettles, dandelions, thistles, chickweed, bluegrass, plantain and more. 

Organic Solid and liquid fertilisers | Our organic solid fertilisers are an all-round care system for plants; they include all of the nutrients which plants need. Each uses natural ingredients providing a trace element and enzyme rich formula.

VineWeevilFree | Vine weevil grubs are renowned for eating away at the roots of container plants including strawberries, so if your plants appear to be struggling, vine weevil larvae is a likely cause. Our nematode treatment can be simply watered into pots and containers. Use between March and August.