Garden friends and pests
Which creatures found in the garden are helpful? Which creatures are pests? How can you stop the pests from destroying your garden? How can you help stop weeds taking over your garden? Find out all about the different creatures that might like to live in your garden, and how to help control weeds too.
Gardens are home to many creatures. Some are helpful and benefit the garden, while others are trouble-making pests and can ruin your plants. A healthy, lush garden attracts the helpful creatures and discourages the pests.
Which creatures found in the garden are helpful?
Examples of helpful creatures are bees, birds, lizards, frogs, ladybirds and some types of butterflies. They are good for your garden because they pollinate plants and eat pests. You can make your garden a welcoming home for these animals by planting colourful flowering plants, supplying clean water and using old logs, rocks or ponds to create an environment similar to their habitats.
Which creatures are pests?
Pests can spread disease, damage plants and cause fruits and vegetables to go soft and mushy. Some examples of pests include snails and slugs, caterpillars, aphids, and some beetles, moths and weevils. Pests can also be diseases or weeds.
How can you stop the pests from destroying your garden?
Organic gardeners understand that different plants, animals, micro-organisms and ecosystems all work together to play a part in creating harmony in the garden. They know that healthy gardens are made up of good and bad garden creatures, and the good creatures actually rely on the bad ones as a food source.
Spraying your garden with synthetic chemicals and poisons is not only unhealthy for the person handling the chemicals, (and those eating the food); but it is bad for your garden too. The chemicals and poisons can kill off good garden creatures, as well as the bad. Instead of spraying, you can:
- maintain the health of the soil. Plants growing in healthy soil build up a natural resistance to pests and disease.
- use foods such as garlic, chilli, coriander and milk to control garden pests. Surprisingly, there are a lot of traditional pest control remedies that use common household ingredients you can find in your kitchen pantry.
- plant particular plants to help control pests and disease, for example Marigold flowers are a very valuable plant for your vegetable garden. They help scare off many pests that don’t like their strong smell, and they look pretty too.
Weeds and weed control
A weed is any plant that is growing somewhere you don’t want it to grow. Often, weeds grow faster than other plants and compete for sunshine, water, nutrients and space in your garden. They can also irritate your skin or be poisonous.
Organic gardeners control weeds by weeding (removing weeds with a trowel or by hand), mulching, or using gravel or rocks to keep weeds down. When weeding, it is important to remove the weed at the roots to help prevent them from growing back. You can also buy safe organic weed sprays to help control weeds.