I am passionate about organic gardening and wildlife, I will try anything; from the weird to the wacky to avoid using chemicals.
I am often asked for tips and advice, so here are some of the methods I use in my garden.
With an organic garden you need to make friends with insect pests. A successful organic garden has a balance between pests and predators. But remember you will need to be patient! Achieving a balance takes time.
You are not aiming to eliminate insect pests completely, without them there is no food for garden birds, frogs, hedgehogs, ladybirds and other creatures.
Avoiding the use of chemicals in your garden, will encourage predators to thrive. The predators will then keep the pest population to a tolerable level.
Creating suitable habitats in your garden will attract predators. Hang up bird feeders, build a log pile or pond, or plant nectar-rich flowers. Place homes around your garden to shelter birds, spiders, beetles and other predatory creatures.
Use simple traps to attract slugs and snails. Melon halves or upturned grapefruit on the soil surface will soon fill up, just dispose of any pests you collect. Create barriers that slugs find hard to cross by using crushed oyster shells, old coffee grounds, bran or grit.
Copper is an excellent way to protect plants, copper tape on the rims of pots works well.
Organic Soap based insecticide sprays containing fatty acids will kill pests on contact, but remember to spray regularly to control newly emerging adults.
I am a huge fan of companion planting; growing one plant alongside another to deter pests. The strong, pungent aroma given off by the leaves of Marigolds, for instance, masks the smell of neighbouring Tomatoes, preventing white fly from finding them.
Try these simple steps this weekend; they really will help you to become an organic gardener and encourage wildlife to visit your garden.