Controlling pests with kitchen waste

Produce provided by Mother Nature

Spring has sprung.  September to November heralds new growth in the garden and the cycle of creation begins again.

This month we are looking at cycling of another kind – recycling.  Young seedlings are prey to pests of all kinds during the growing season so in addition to companion planting why not employ some recycling practices to aid your cause?  Instead of using organic matter to improve the fertility of your soil in compost or in your worm farm, a lot of kitchen waste can be used directly on your garden.  Recycled kitchen waste, you will discover, can be gardeners gold.

Snails and slugs are a gardener’s quagmire.  They especially don’t like hollowed out citrus rinds, being trapped under potato skins and certainly won’t cross a path of broken egg shells.   (Of course hollowed out citrus rinds also make great seedling starter pots too).  To get those citrus growing in the first instance though, why not try coffee grinds.  As well as adding vital nitrogen to the garden they block ant traffic.  Black soot, a disease which occurs frequently on citrus, is likely due to an insect infestation.  Keeping ants off trees therefore should be the first line of defence.  The relationship between aphids and ants is quite fascinating.   Ants coddle honeydew exuding insects (like aphids) that live on citrus and protect them from being killed by their natural predators and parasites, that is, ants carry aphids around to harvest the sugar they produce. The ants move the  aphids  around different plants for better forage, stroking their abdomens, which causes them to release a sugary substance that the ants eat. Ants literally milk aphids!  The result of getting rid of the ants then is that you will also get rid of the aphids. Old dishwater has a similar effect but is more suitable to use, for example, across a garden path, that is a thoroughfare for ants.

Old coffee grinds and tea bags can also be soaked in water and sprayed on plants as a general insect deterrent. Tea is particularly good for roses, azaleas, violets and even parsley and passion-fruit.  To suffocate chewing and sucking insects try making a ‘white oil’ or ‘summer oil’ spray preparation.  Take ½ litre of discarded vegetable oil and mix with half a cup of detergent or soap dissolved in water.  To spray, mix 1 tablespoon of the preparation in 1 litre of water.

Even old cardboard (when sprayed yellow) or yellow plastic can be put to good use in the garden. Smear some petroleum jelly on to the cardboard or plastic and you will catch the nemesis of brassicas.  Whitefly love the colour yellow! Happy gardening.

Plant

Asparagus, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, celeriac, celery, chilli, climbing beans, collards, cucumber, eggplant, globe artichokes, gourds, lettuce, marrow, mustard greens, NZ spinach, okra, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, radish, rock melon, silverbeet, shallots, squash, swiss chard, sweetcorn, kumara, tomato, turnip, watermelon, zucchini

Harvest

Apples, beetroot, cabbage, collards, cucumber, dwarf beans, globe artichokes, kohl rabi, lettuce, loquats, mustard greens, pears, radish, silverbeet, swiss chard, turnip, tomato, zucchini

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