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Common pests and what to do about them

Common pests and what to do about them

Whilst the Airgarden is less susceptible to pests than soil-based growing, they can still cause issues if left untreated. So what do you need to be looking out for and what are the solutions? These are the most common suspects.

Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers typically cause their damage during summer. They will present in the form of chewed leaves and flowers, plants stripped of their foliage and gauged fruit.

What to do about grasshoppers

Homemade Garlic & Chilli Spray

  • Combine the following in a glass jar and set aside for 24 hours:
    • 8-10 chillies finely sliced
    • 4 cloves garlic crushed and cut roughly
    • 1 Tablespoon soap flakes
    • 1 Litre boiling water
  • Strain and pour into a spray bottle
  • Make sure you spray your plants in the evening or when overcast - spraying when sunny can cause your plants to burn.
  • Use within 2 weeks 

Aphids

Aphids present as large colonies of tiny insects clustered on young stems, leaves and buds. You may see wilting and distortion of leaves, yellowing and premature death of leaves and young plants, and honeydew on leaves and fruit, with black sooty mould fungus.

what to do about aphids

What to do about aphids

Home made horticultural oil
  • Mix 2 cups of vegetable oil + ½ cup of dishwashing detergent. Shake together in a jar, where the mixture will turn a milky colour.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of this concentrate to a litre of water and it's ready to spray.
  • Make sure you spray your plants in the evening or when overcast - spraying when sunny can cause your plants to burn.

Eco-Organic Oil

Eco-oil is an organic insecticide that kills sap-sucking insects like aphids, mites, scale, whitefly, mealybugs, and citrus leafminer. It also attracts beneficial predatory insects (like lady beetles) to your Airgarden. Made from 100% botanical oils it is safe for use on edibles and ornamentals with no withholding period.

Make sure you spray your plants in the evening or when overcast - spraying when sunny can cause your plants to burn.

Caterpillars

If you notice yellow butterflies flying around your plants - don't be fooled by their pretty wings! They're a sign of caterpillars. You can also spot the eggs they lay. Once hatched, they'll cause nasty leaf holes, starting at the leaf's edge and working inward.

caterpillars

What to do about caterpillars

All-round insecticide

  • Chop four large onions, two cloves of garlic, and four hot chillies.
  • Mix them together and cover with warm, soapy water and leave it to stand overnight.
  • Strain off that liquid and add it to five litres of water to create an all-round insecticide.

Yates Caterpillar Killer

  • Spray all affected plants with Yates
  • Once a caterpillar eats treated foliage, it stops eating but may take up to 3-4 days to die and drop from the leaf.
  • DO NOT spray when conditions are hot, or when soil is dry and plants are suffering from moisture stress. The best time to apply is in late afternoon.
  • Respraying at 5 – 7 day intervals may be needed as more caterpillars hatch or under rainy conditions.

Soap spray

  • Add two tablespoons of soap flakes to one litre of water and stir thoroughly until completely dissolved. There is no need to dilute this further, just spray it on as is.

Check out this video for more information on combatting caterpillars!

Beneficial plants to repel pests

With 30 growing spots in your Airgarden, there is also plenty of space to add some edible pest repelling plants to protect the more vulnerable favourites you might be trying to grow.

Some plants actually repel or confuse insects with a strong scent, such as sage, oregano, lavender and basil, whist others attract beneficial insects, such as dill and fennel. These plants often have flowers or foliage that attract insects that prey on other pests in the garden.

For a full list of insect-repellant plants click here

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