Grasshoppers are so cute but not when they are tearing through the leaves of our vegetables. I squash the ones that I am able to catch, but I let the little guy in the photo go though, and released him in a part of the garden that is full of ferns and succulents. They have already done some damage to several of our kale plants but not as much as caterpillars have. There has been a remarkable number of garden pests I’ve had to deal with in these last few weeks and admittedly, it has been causing me some anxiety.
Here are caterpillars that I found in two separate kale plants.
Also, aphids and whiteflies have been thrashing my Bok Choy plant. Fortunately, there were a couple of lady birds around to devour some of them, but unfortunately, there were also ants about the plant, who were likely to be farming and defending the aphids for their “honeydew” fix. I crushed some aphids by hand, but because there were too many, I searched online for safe ways to deal with them. One suggested method was to sprinkle banana peels at the bottom of the plant, as the potassium in the peels repel aphids. It worked well, and within a few days they were all gone. The whiteflies were undeterred though. I left them on the plant and went on a Christmas holiday for 4 days and it was dead when I got back. I should have dealt with them when I could.
I’ve also been busy picking this beetle species off my mint plant since I got to Australia 6 weeks ago. They have a shiny iridescent sheen on their shell, and eat the top layer of the leaves, leaving unsightly brown patches on the top and undersides of the leaves. I have been crushing them when I am able to catch them, and I don’t see many of them anymore.
One annoying pest from the garden that has been preying not on our plants but us, is the tick. It has been rare this summer, but they were all over us in Spring time. We usually get them in time, but on occasion, Dan doesn’t spot it in time and it makes him a bit sick for a few days.
The best way to deal with garden pests is through natural methods and not chemicals. We are introducing plants such as calendula and nasturtium to the garden to attract beneficial insects and help with pest control; I found this great list of plants for the job. We have Eco Neem oil and pyrethrum on hand but have not yet used them, also I am also thinking of using yellow sticky traps near our eggplant seedlings. If you are looking for a good resource when it comes to managing garden pests, check out this Gardening Australia web page,
For now, I need to work on attracting more praying mantis, lacewings and hoverflies, and growing more herbs and plants to attract them. This week I’m going to get some Good Bug Mix into the ground, so I can stop fussing over it constantly, and let the garden take care of itself.