Tips & Tricks - Insects & Pests

The Good The Bad & What to Do

 

 

Whilst we would like to say that an airgarden will eliminate losing your fruits & vegetables to pests, unfortunately just like you and I, these guys also love healthy, nutritious food!! However when these guys start feeding on your airgarden it can cause a few issues for both you & your garden.

 

So what's the solution & what do you need to be looking out for? There are regular suspects to be aware of & these are the most common:

 

 

 

grasshoppers

 

What they Look Like  

 

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Solutions to Fix

 

  1. Homemade Garlic & Chilli Spray:

 

  • 8-10 chillies finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed and cut roughly
  • 1 Tablespoon soap flakes
  • 1 Litre boiling water
  • Combine in a glass jar and set aside for 24 hours.
  • Strain and pour into a spray bottle.
  • Use within 2 weeks

 

Damage they Do

 

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aphids

 

what they look like  

 

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Solutions to Fix

 

  1. horticultural oil:

 

  • 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.
  • this controls most insect pests, including scale, aphids, white fly, leaf miner, mealy bug and mites.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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. this controls aphids,

 

 

Damage they Do

 

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caterpillars

 

What they Look Like  

 

cabbage moth

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cabbage moth eggs

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Solutions to Fix

 

keep your eye out for any of the following flying around your airgarden and plants. this includes the cabbage moths that lay eggs on the underside of plants like kale, broccoli and rocket. and also tomato worms (budworms) who burrow into tomatoes and wreak havoc like their above mentioned cousins;

 

  1. yates natures way caterpillar killer: 

bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki affects the insect’s digestive system. 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.
  • read the label and mix as instructed.
  • spray when caterpillars or their damage first appear. It is important to spray both sides of all foliage.
  • respraying at 5 – 7 day intervals may be needed as more caterpillars hatch or under rainy conditions.

 

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  • this controls caterpillars, but only when they are newly hatched and small.

Damage they Do

 

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Beneficial Companion Plants to Repel Pests

 

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

 

According to Gardening Australia:

 

“Pest controlling plants come under two categories - those that repel or confuse insects with strong scent, such as sage, oregano, lavender and basil, and those that 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.

 

Pest repellant plants actually work in three different ways. The first; masking plants - include thyme, lavender and scented geranium. These produce strong, volatile oils and scent that actually masks the plants the insects might be looking for.

 

There are also repellant plants such as cotton lavender or santolina, tansy and wormwood. These plants produce a scent or taste that is so bitter or putrid it drives insects away.

 

Finally, there are plants that contain natural toxins or poisons which can be used to make sprays or washes. These include fennel, which can be used as a flea repellent for animals, feverfew, or chamomile, which can be used as an antifungal agent, and the dried flower of pyrethrum or chopped chilli, which can be used as insect sprays.”

 

Think this isn’t enough to deter pests? Think again. According to the above article:

 

“Gardeners in Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens, Palace Rose Garden are using companion plants well to not only deter pests, but also to attract beneficial insects. Previously they used 400 litres of chemicals every fortnight and now they're using none. The result is a much more vibrant and diversified garden. Not only is it better for the environment, but it looks better too.”