THE LAZYGARDENER

Those of us who have gardens, and particularly vegetable gardens, will know the disappointment one feels when inspecting your plants and being horrified to discover those pesky white butterflies have invaded your garden.

Your lovely green cabbage leaves have lots of small holes. There’s only a few so why worry! But this is just the start. They are just starting to party!

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Upon inspection, you find underneath the leaf, generally near the rib of the leaf, a very tiny, so hard to see small grub – so tiny and so colour-coded to the leaf, you almost miss it.

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They are first seen as small whitish eggs clumped together, roughly about 2mm in diameter. They then hatch and start to feed on the food source – their local supermarket. What to do!

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Well, in the past, I’ve advocated for a sealed garden – mosquito netting all round. It does make it somewhat difficult to get into but actually works a treat. It is a lot of work and I hear you say, “I would rather buy them and not have the worry of growing the plants”.

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At home, there are plenty of organic sprays we could choose, from soap and water, garlic sprays, vinegar sprays and milk sprays. Then there are the store-bought sprays like neem oil, Pyrethrum dust or spray, and many others from various manufacturers of garden products.

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If you use store bought, follow the directions on the label for best results and remember that using more than recommended will not necessarily be better – you could be wasting your money.

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There are plenty of people who swear by beer to control snails in the garden, while certain flowers inhibit some insects from eating your veges as their scent or colour directs them to the flowers instead. Creating a barrier around your plants is another way to stop some insects.

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Most of the ingredients used in natural sprays are combined with water to dilute and, together with a small drop of detergent, enables the substance sprayed to more effectively stick to the leaves of the plants.

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The Gardening Australia website is a mine of information on what to use for certain insects, and what quantities to mix together for best protection.

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One of the best things you can do is to look at your plants daily, say hello to them, don’t let them feel neglected.

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You might laugh, but just by looking at them daily, they will let you know how they are progressing. Do they need water? Are they healthy looking? Do they look strong and a nice colour? Have they taken a long time to grow?

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Don’t forget the soothing effect that growing things have on the human soul.

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Wondering what to get the grand kids for Christmas. They have a million toys!

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What about kid-sized tools for the garden to get them on the way to learning about gardening and growing things. There is a great array of gardening gloves, small wheelbarrows, rakes and hoes together with small gardens on legs.

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Why not a complete garden including seeds or plants, ready to go, together with all the accessories. Just a thought! L Till next time.

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JOHN WILSON

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