Agriculture Ecology Growing Organic Practice Soil

Trap Crop

My Guinness traps have been very effective at snaring them but I still have to destroy slugs and snails every night. I’m out late with the torch on my phone and some repurposed kitchen tongs. Often I find these slimy critters clustered around these home-made devices where I intercept them. It’s one of the downsides of having to do this before bedtime that the activity has been threatening to permeate my dreams.

Apart from this, although I have lots of insect activity I’m really happy about, bees, wasps, hover flies, butterflies and now worms, I have had precious few pests. That’s a benefit one reaps from looking after the soil and keeping it healthy (organic compost, no pesticides, no dig) and also having a diversity of planting (which includes some weeds that I have encouraged). The less diversity the weaker the ecosystem and the greater the need for pesticides.

One of the weeds I have let grow in pots is Dock. I never gave this much thought. Although I uprooted it from some pots, for instance I ripped out a massive Dock which had sprung up where I am growing an Apple tree, in a few spots I have left it. What I could not have foreseen was how this would benefit me so dramatically.

For some reason a swarm of Aphids chose one Dock over and above any other plant in the garden to settle on. Even better, there they are being farmed by some Ants.

Farmers sometimes use what is called a Trap Crop to draw pests away from valuable ones. A classic example is how Alfalfa is planted to draw the Lygus bug away from Cotton plantations. Weeds can apparently function in the same way.