More and more of us are welcoming wildlife into our gardens by putting up bird boxes, digging ponds, and planting bee-friendly flowers. But this warm welcome often stops at the veg patch, where wildlife is seen as the enemy, and banished from all but the wildest corners.
It’s no surprise. For years, gardening advice has revolved around the idea of the gardener vs the pest, and nowhere has this been more stressed than on the vegetable plot. We’re warned against ‘cabbage’ white butterflies and their brassica-hungry caterpillars, birds on our fruit crops, aphids on our beans, carrot flies in our carrots. We erect netting to prevent access, and lay traps and use sprays and pellets to kill. There’s an assumption that in order to grow veg, there must be pest management. But it is possible to use organic, and therefore more ‘nature-friendly’ methods of pest control, such as blasting aphids off plants with a jet of water from a hose or growing companion plants to confuse, rather than kill certain insects.
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