Keep battling garden pests

Todmorden In Bloom
Todmorden In Bloom

It will be interesting to see what effect last winter has on pest populations this summer.

Insects that winter underground may drown when soil becomes waterlogged. The below-average temperatures and wet weather of our past winter may have had some positive effects! Unfortunately it will also have harmed beneficial insects such as our already depleted bee population.

Slugs may have voracious appetites but they’re fussy eaters too, so the good news is that there are a selection of plants that slugs and snails will avoid. Slugs do not like any plants that are tough, hairy or bitter. They prefer chrysanthemums to dandelions. Then there are plants with glossy leaves, which prevent their tongues scraping away the surface. Also unpopular are those with pungent-smelling foliage such as lavender.

If you can choose from the following list of plants, it’s a satisfying way to repel slugs without extra cost or chemical side effects.

Aquilegias, Astilbes, Begonias, Crocosmias, Euphorbias, Ferns, Fuchsias, Grasses, hardy Geraniums, Hydrangeas, Japanese anemones, Lavenders, Pelargoniums, Penstemons, Roses, Sedums.

Don’t overfeed young plants in springtime as this encourages soft growth which slugs love to eat. Likewise, slugs enjoy tender seedlings. Water the garden in the morning rather than evening, as water trails create night-time slug motorways. Water the roots only. Or you could grow a tasty lettuce as a sacrificial offering!

Place slug traps made from scooped out orange or grapefruit halves cut side down, or yoghurt cups holding a smidgen of beer sunk into the soil.

As advised many times before, please encourage natural predators. If you have space, plant berried trees such as holly or hawthorn to entice thrushes into the garden. Could you create a pond to provide a habitat for frogs, and toads which love a nightly feast of slugs?

Sadly, gardeners need to accept that they cannot be totally eradicated. For further information try the factsheet on slugs at www.gardenorganic.co.uk .

Todmorden in Bloom volunteers have recently planted up hundreds of brightly coloured Begonia bedding plants. Todmorden in Bloom are grateful to our supporters including Todmorden Town Council’s grant which enabled us to buy liners for all our barrier baskets, Upper Calderdale Charity Assist (known as UCCA) for their recent surprise cheque which went towards buying annual plants and bags of compost, and M.G.Caravans for the use of their premises and water for our recent planting up sessions.

Todmorden in Bloom will always welcome more helpers, especially now during our busiest months ahead. For more information please phone Norman on 01706 812205 or Jean on 01706 817492 or see our website at www.todmorden-in-bloom.btck.co.uk