An elderly lady stopped me as she was walking around our garden on one of our NGS charity open days and asked me, “ How do you manage to get rid of all those slugs, snails and other bugs in your garden? In my garden, they eat everything and my plants are covered in aphids.”
“Well,” I replied, “ I don’t really know how that is done. I just leave it to the workers.”
She looked at me appalled, as though I was some greedy, exploiting, eighteenth century capitalist mill owner treating his workers like slaves, and totally ignorant of the work that really went on in the gardens…I hastily thought I had better admit to my little joke.
I explained that, however hard our excellent gardener and I worked, hoeing, digging, and weeding, and trying to keep down bugs and garden pests, it was our other “workers”: the thrushes, robins, ladybirds and toads who worked tirelessly day and night, who do the real work.
In an organic system like ours, these pest controllers are essential.
That is why we are so pleased to see ladybirds, who devour aphids in huge quantities, on our growing barley and peas, as you can see in the pictures. With them working for us we know that aphids will be kept to acceptable numbers and that our plants will survive. We also know that, because we are organic, our fields and gardens are free of harmful pesticides and insecticides.
We say, “Up the workers!” and will do our best to encourage more of these beautiful little insects in our gardens and fields.