A remedy for annoying vege saboteurs

By Rachel Vogan

With the Rugby World Cup having dominated spring so far, many green-fingered people have taken a leave of absence from their gardens. With so much action on and off the field, it's only natural we have been sidetracked from our vege spots, plots and/or pots.

Remember vital ingredients for a successful vege garden are sun, water, time (minutes, not hours) and fertiliser. The most common reason for crop failure is too much or too little water and crops being planted in the shade. Veges need moist, not dry or water-logged, soils and full sun.

Stressed plants, particularly because of too much or too little water, are susceptible to insects.

The common offenders are whitefly and aphids. Aphids appear on the stems or growing tips of crops such as tomatoes, chillies and beans.

Whitefly usually hides underneath the leaves of those crops, and flies off when disturbed. Both of these unwanted "sap suckers" can kill or wreck a plant, or even an entire crop.

Slugs and snails muscle in and around the ground under cover of darkness, with slugs wedging themselves in the centre of leafy crops and gorging themselves silly.

Snails spend their time chewing great holes in leaves. To deal with these unwelcome critters, hunt down some natural bug spray.

Home-made rhubarb or washing liquid sprays are good options.

Gardening legend Nathan Leggett swears by the natural insect and bug spray called Beat A Bug.

"It's been round for years, somehow has flown under the radar a bit for no reason other than not many gardeners seem to know about it," he says. "Those who use it love it and always have a bottle on hand."

It's ready to use and safe. It's a quick point, spray and walk away treatment.

Beat a Bug is a blend of garlic, pyrethrum and chilli that stops bugs swiftly.

Pyrethrum is nothing new; it's widely recognised as a good organic pest control and, when combined with garlic and chilli, the results are top notch.

- The Aucklander

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