Ok I just did this blog and it didn't save to take 2.
This might be a controversial subject but is intended to be an encouragement to those who are struggling with pests in their garden.
I feel this is the part where I need to apologise to Sarah. When I first joint this challenge I was full of spirit and 100% anti chemicals and 100% for the "natural garden". Don't get me wrong, I am still nervous about chemicals but I have definitely changed over the years. I must have given Sarah a headache in the first year with the many home made remedies I had uncovered on the web. I must admit a couple were ok but most were less than ideal.
I reckon I tried every so called natural way to stop slugs and have now settled on Blitzem with limited use. I know it's not natural or organic. The other alternative was iron chelate based slug bait but after researching this I found it affected worm populations so that was a swift no from me. Our main defence is still going out at night and picking them up but a few Blitzem pellets while plants are young have helped.
The reason for the title of the blog is that the thing that helped me the most was realising that for the bulk of us, our very gardens and what we expect of them is unnatural. We want a natural garden but we don't want pests eating our plants. In nature this is what happens. In fact, your tomato plant is not really interested in providing you with perfect blemish free fruit. It is really just interested in spreading seed for the next generation so probably delights in the very bird that you curse as it picks holes in the fruit. It is happy when a rat comes in and takes a tomato away.
The same goes for your berries, cabbage, lettuce etc etc.
The problem I found was that I wanted blemish free fruit. I didn't want caterpillars in my smoothie or holes our fruit. To have perfect fruit and veges, we need to intervene with nature itself. The other alternative is to accept the holes and blemishes etc and share our gardens with nature.
So for us, we use a variety of netting where possible, an organic fish oil spray for pest control and yates natures way fungus spray which is copper. We are careful as every spray that kills the bad guys has the potential to kill the good guys too so it is important to do the research and also spray at the right time.
I'm not an advocate of spraying as such but wanted to encourage those that may be feeling guilty about using them that it is not the end of the world. I really recommend researching and just because something isn't natural, doesn't mean it is bad and also just because something is natural it doesn't mean it is good. Some unnatural products as such are derived from natural bacteria. Sarah pointed out to me a while ago that Yates products go through stringent testing before they can be marketed whereby a lot of home remedies don't have the same testing.
That being said, if you are spraying, please think of the bees and don't spray when they are about. Follow the instructions and do a little research. Don't just take my advice or others as fact.
Our philosophy for sometime now has been "let nature do it's thing with a little help when needed". On the whole the better solution is to get good soil, lots of worms and plant a garden that encourages beneficials in. If you can do that, half the battle is won and the requirement for intervention is minimal.