Posted: 10/06/2013 at 16:38
The biggest pest in my veg garden at the moment is our neighbour's cat whose digging is damaging my runner bean seedlings.
I can honestly say that we haven't had a problem with pests in this garden - we encourage wildlife and have lots of bluetits and hedgehogs visiting. If we get aphids on the roses I just brush them off with my fingers - that removes most of them but leaves some for the ladybirds and bluetits. In the past I've also sprayed with a solution of Ecover washing up liquid and water which seems to deter them, but I'm not fanatical about removing every one - unless we leave some food for the predators we'll lose them and then the aphids etc will take over!
I also don't use slug pellets - and we don't get much damage at all. We have big orange slugs and I leave them alone as they only eat rotting vegetation and smaller slugs. What with them, the birds and the hoggies we seem to have achieved a balance.
I collect snails wherever I see them and put them in plastic flowerpots placed on on their side in shady corners with a bit of lettuce or similar - the snails stay put for a while and the hedgehogs know where to find them
A member of my family is huge vegetable producer for the big supermarkets - even the most environmentally concious of them use pesticides unless they are Certified Organic as they cannot produce the quality the public has grown used to without. Supermarkets get complaints if a customer finds a caterpillar on a cabbage whereas I would regard it as evidence that the cabbage hadn't been doused in pesticide
I also try not to over-feed the plants - soft growth is so susceptible to pests and disease.
In my small garden I cannot be self sufficient, but I grow what I hope I can grow well without the use of pesticides.