Stop common pests ‘devouring’ crops using ‘organic controls’

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Wildlife is great for our gardens but some pests and diseases can cause major damage to crops and plants that gardeners have invested a great deal of time and effort in. In a video for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Bhupinder shared her advice for preventing the “most problematic pests”. The equipment needed for pests and diseases includes insect mesh, horticultural fleece, netting, garden lime and cabbage collars.

The gardening expert said the best starting point is to grow varieties that are resistant to pests and diseases.

These can be found by doing research before purchasing vegetable seeds or by choosing plants with the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

The list will have plants that are tried and tested top performers in the garden.

Leafy crops

Leaf crops include spinach, watercress, lettuce and micro greens and are usually put in salads.

Leafy crops aren’t usually too affected by pests other than rabbits and slugs and snails.

The gardening expert suggested ensuring the vegetable patch is fenced in to prevent rabbits from entering.

However, slugs may require other methods. Bhupinder explained: “Slug populations can be managed by applying organic controls like nematodes.

“This is watered into the soil and the nematodes kill the slugs. Individual plants can be protected by using deterrent mulches but this is not practical in large areas.

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“Encourage wildlife into your garden as many birds eat slugs and snails and, if you can, incorporate a pond as toads and frogs eat many slugs and snails.”


Brassicas include crops such as cabbage, mustard plants, kale, cauliflower, kale and turnips.

Brassicas are one of the most affected crops when it comes to pests. Pigeons “devour” their leaves and cabbage white butterfly caterpillars “destroy” the whole plant.

The expert said: “Cabbage root fly damages the roots and club root disease infects the roots. All of these problems can be prevented.

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“Use netting to prevent the entry of pigeons and butterflies and use cabbage collars to prevent cabbage root fly eggs from hatching.

“Alternatively you can use insect mesh to prevent any of the pests from reaching the plants.”

Club root disease damaged the roots of brassicas but this only happens if the soil is acidic. Use garden lime to raise the pH of the soil.


Legumes include crops such as chickpeas, green peas, black beans, black-eyed peas, peanuts and lima beans.

Legumes vernally aren’t affected by that many pests but mice do like to eat their seeds right after they have been planted.

Start them off in points to avoid this. Pigeons also like to eat young pea shoots so wrap them up in fleece to prevent this.

Aphids feed on the growing tips of plants which causes distortion and reduces vigour.

Aphids are usually eaten by natural predators like ladybirds but if not, you can also squish them between your fingers.

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