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Protecting vegetables from snails, grubs, birds and more!

Anna asked "Do you have any problems with animals (or other pests) eating your veggies from the garden? If so, how do you deal with it?"

We have to protect our plants from snails, slugs, birds, grubs, aphids, and caterpillars.

Snails and slugs cause havoc. I came across a fun post about snails and slugs that have been introduced to Tasmania. I have seen common garden snails, great yellow slugs, and striped field slugs. Yuck! They eat just about anything, including beans and celery. We combat them in two ways. One is to look for them in damp places, including under leaves and in corners of the garden. Secondly, when there are lots of snails and slugs we purchase snail bait and scatter this around especially vulnerable plants (particularly seedlings). This is one way we depart from organic gardening.

Birds, especially blackbirds, will disturb seeds, dig out newly germinated plants, and peck holes in young plants.  They will also eat strawberries. We place nets over vulnerable plants so that birds cannot get to them. It is important to elevate the nets using stakes, or birds can still land on the net and peck the plants through it!

Grubs can be the hidden culprit behind surprising events! When we find a plant that has had its root eaten through and its leaves are perfect but they have collapsed onto the ground, a grub is probably responsible. I try to immediately dig in the area to find and kill the grub. We have particularly found this to be a problem with beet seedlings. Sometimes several seedlings are destroyed before the culprit is found. I have also found grubs and caterpillars eating the tops of tomatoes.

Aphids are tiny green insects that can infest a plant and stop it from flourishing. This has been a particular problem with lettuces in our garden. We spray aphids with pyrethrum.

Caterpillars in our garden are the larvae of the cabbage moth. The caterpillars are bright green and the eggs are yellow or cream. The moths lay their eggs on all brassiccas, not just cabbages. I have even had some radishes and turnips that were severely affected, as these are in the brassica family. I try to regularly check our brassicas for the eggs and larvae of the cabbage moth. Even tiny caterpillars can eat a lot, so look very carefully. Lots of small holes in the leaves of your plants are a sure sign that you need to search for these pests.

I hope that this is helpful! What about you? Do you have problems with pests in your garden? If so, how do you protect your plants?

Roelien –   – (March 18, 2010 at 7:59 PM)  


They love slugs and snial on the menu, a free few minutes a day solves these problems!

Anna  – (March 23, 2010 at 4:47 AM)  

Thanks for posting. I didn't even think about birds! I hope we don't have to worry too much about them. I've been noticing so many larger wild animals around that I'm thinking we'll have to net off our garden too. How/where do you buy pyrethrum?

Sherrin  – (March 23, 2010 at 10:25 AM)  

Lots of people who live more rurally here do have problems with animals like possums, wallabies, etc. and sometimes actually have to have an electric fence for their gardens! This doesn't make it very economical. Another option is a coragated iron fence.

I purchased my pyrethrum at a local discount store "Chickenfeed" that sells all kinds of things. However, I guess it is usually sold at home & garden stores.

Anna  – (March 27, 2010 at 5:12 AM)  

Great. Thanks Sherrin for all your answers!
I'm thinking about chicken wire, but I might wait and see if the animals around here are a problem first (I've seen deer, a possum, a raccoon, and lots of squirrels in the neighborhood and I've never had to deal with any of these while living in the western United States, so I was a little concerned). Is it ok if I put a link to your post on my blog?

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