Big Pests V.S. Small Pests in Your Garden
Pests of all sizes can lead to the total demise of your garden. There are big pests, like squirrels, rabbits, and birds, and small pests, like aphids, cabbage worms, and white flies.
The larger pests are more likely to attack when you first plant your garden. They see their target and they go for it, eating your veggie plants before they have the chance to grow!
If you manage to keep the larger pests out of your garden, then come the smaller pests, aphids being the most annoying. Smaller pests multiply in the hundreds, and before you know it, your plant babies are COVERED in them. Cabbage worms don’t just go after cabbage, they feed on many plants in the brassica family, especially broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, collards, kale, and mustard greens.
I personally have been having issues with the larger pests. My leafy greens in the early spring box got annihilated by some squirrels who hopped on the chance to dine at the all-you-can-eat buffet that is my garden. The hard part of dealing with larger pests is that they eat the entire plant, even the growing point in the center, meaning there is no coming back from it!
To fix this, I got some stakes, placed them in the four corners of my garden, and laid some garden netting along the sides. Garden netting is great because the netting is small enough so no pests can get through but it still allows for the plants to get sunshine and water.
I’ll link the netting I purchased HERE.
I placed the netting all the way on the ground and I’m using some rocks to hold it down, that way, come harvest or when checking for smaller pests, I can just lift the rocks and get to the plants easily.
When it comes to smaller pests, these can be harder to handle! Since they are so small and hard to see, by the time you notice them they can be in the thousands.
Aphids are green little bugs that can sometimes be red! Neem oil is an AMAZING natural pesticide that can help with aphids. Another way to kick them off your plants, literally, is to spray them with cold water. Spray the leaves with high pressure so the aphids are literally thrown off and then spray them with Neem Oil to keep the aphids off and kill any survivors.
Ladybugs are aphid predators, so if you have a bad aphid problem that just doesn’t seem to go away no matter how hard you try, buy a bag of ladybugs. Yes! They sell ladybugs.
For the other smaller pests, spraying them off with cold water and using Neem Oil should work as well. Don’t be afraid to go in and pick them off by hand, too-- show them who’s boss!
Here are some photos of what the pests look like so you can keep an eye on them!
Check in small crevices and underneath leaves for aphids. Aphids turn black/dark grey/light brown when they are dead and they can also be a red color (second photo).
They also like to hide under leaves and small crevices! Since they fly, using a small plant trap can be very helpful to catch them.
Here are cabbage worms! They look like your average caterpillar but do some major damage! Also watch for their babies and be sure to get rid of them, too!
Plants need 3 things: water, sun and soil! If given those 3 things in the right quantities ANY plant can survive and thrive. It’s the little things, like pests, that can turn your garden into a graveyard in a blink of an eye!
I hope this helps with keeping pesky pests out of your garden!