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Saturday8.00am - 8.00pm
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Wednesday8.00am - 8.00pm
Thursday8.00am - 8.00pm

Pest control

Bugs, snails and caterpillars love to munch on plants, but there are ways to keep them off your Little Garden. 

Pest protection

If you notice your plants going missing or having holes or bite marks, you could have a pest problem. Tender seedlings are a tasty treat for slugs, snails, birds, rabbits and other pests, so be vigilant.  


• Use bait to stop slugs and snails or go out at night when they’re most active and pick them off and squash them. 
• Use bird netting or chicken wire as a physical barrier against hungry rabbits and birds. 
• Make dome covers (called cloches) for delicate plants like lettuces, by cutting a large plastic bottle in half. Just put each half over your plant, and you’ve made a safe place for your plant to grow under. Put some soil around the cloche to stop it from blowing away. Plus, the bottle will act like a mini greenhouse. 

Encouraging the good bugs

Helpful bugs like ladybugs, parasitic wasps (which eat caterpillars, including those of the monarch butterfly, so protect your swan plants with an insect mesh as soon as you notice the monarch caterpillars there), bees, spiders and hoverflies will all appreciate you creating a habitat for them. These good bugs like to hide in nooks and crannies, so to create a simple bug hotel cut the end off a plastic bottle and pack it full of sticks, twigs, pine cones, short pieces of bamboo (or anything with hollow stems) and bark.  

Make sure you place your bug hotel close to your Little Garden in semi-shade and grow nectar-rich flowering plants such as your Little Garden Purple Tansy nearby.  

For a more elaborate insect apartment block, stack bricks and two or three short pieces of wood into a bookshelf and pack all the crevices with sticks, stems, pine cones, straw and hay, dry leaves, stones, bricks and rocks. 

Make your own pest deterrents

Chilli and garlic bug spray


The stuff that makes chilli hot to taste (capsaicin) works in this spray to repel caterpillars and ants. Cats don’t like it either, so try this to keep kitties out of your vege patch. 

Make sure an adult is with you at all times while preparing or using plant spray. 

Take care when making and using this spray, as the chilli will hurt you, especially if it gets in your eyes or nose. Wash your hands thoroughly after preparing and using this spray.

Ingredients
  • 4 fresh red chillies 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 2 onions 
  • 2 litres water 
  • squirt of washing up liquid 
  • Method
    1. Put all the vegetables in your food processor. Add two cups of water and blend. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the vegetables into small chunks, then add the water. 
    2. Pour the mix into a jug and add the rest of the water (hot but not boiling). Leave it to steep overnight.  
    3. The next day, strain to remove solids, add a squirt of washing up liquid (that makes the spray stick to the leaves) and pour into a spray bottle.  
    4. Apply once a week if there is no rain, but two or three times a week in wet weather. 

    Garlic bug spray


    Garlic is rich in sulphur, which is toxic to a range of pests, including aphids and white cabbage butterflies. The soap helps the spray stick to the plants. 

    Make sure an adult is with you at all times while preparing or using plant spray. 

    Ingredients
  • 30g pure soap (Lux flakes or grated soap) 
  • 100g roughly chopped garlic 
  • 1 litre water
  • Method
    1. Dissolve soap in hot water, then cool. 
    2. Mix ingredients and let stand for 48 hours.
    3. Strain and store in a plastic container.  
    4. To use, dilute 15ml per litre of water. 
    5. Apply with a sprayer. 

    Milk and baking soda spray


    This milk and baking soda spray will slow down or prevent fungal infections that might affect some of your Little Garden crops, particularly in late summer and autumn.  

    Make sure an adult is with you at all times while preparing or using plant spray.

    The first symptom of a fungal infection is a white or grey film or spots appearing on the plant leaves. If you see anything like that, remove the affected leaves and apply this spray on the whole plant as often as required. If your plants are affected by fungal infections, you’ll need to keep treating them until the end of their lives, as the spray won’t stop the infection, only slow it down and allow any fruit on the plant to ripen.

    If you’re using this spray to prevent an infection, spray plants weekly and reapply after rain. 

    Ingredients
  • 500ml full-fat homogenised milk
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 4.5 litres warm water
  • A squirt of washing up liquid
  • Method
    1. Mix all ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. 
    2. Go out and spray your plants. 

    Rhubarb leaf bug spray


    Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which is toxic for aphids but safe to use around bees.  

    Make sure an adult is with you at all times while preparing or using plant spray.

    Wear gloves when making and using this spray and don’t use the pot again in your kitchen. This mix breaks down quickly, so use it up within a couple of days. Do not use this spray on edible parts of edible plants, and wash your harvest before eating it.

    Ingredients
  • 1.5kg rhubarb leaves
  • 30g dishwashing liquid or soap flakes (don’t use laundry powder)
  • 3.5 litres water
  • Method
    1. In a large old pot boil the roughly chopped rhubarb leaves, soap and water for 30 minutes.  
    2. Strain and cool the mixture, then pour into a spray bottle. 
    3. Spray on plants affected by aphids, snails, slugs and caterpillars, coating the plant and ensuring you cover both sides of the leaves. Spray every two or three days, ideally on windless evenings, until the infestation is controlled.