Small Gardens

Enemies Of The Garden

Slugs, and how to trap them--Blight or green fly--Earwigs-- Wireworm--Snails--Mice--Friends mistakenly called foes. =The best garden as a rule has the fewest insects=, indeed, no foe is allowed to lodge for any length of time without means being

taken for its extermination. Some enemies are more easily got rid of than others; for instance, green fly, or aphis (to give it the scientific name), rarely attacks healthy plants to any extent; it goes for the sick ones, therefore =good cultivation will speedily reduce their numbers=. When any is seen, a strong syringing of =soapy water= will generally dislodge them, or, if this is impracticable, a dusting of =tobacco-powder= is a very good substitute. Tait and Buchanan's Anti-blight, to be had of most seedsmen, is a reliable powder; it is also efficacious in preventing mildew in potatoes, chrysanthemums, etc. In some gardens, especially those inclined to be damp, =slugs are very troublesome=; their depredations are usually carried on by night, so that it is rather difficult to trap them; many things are sold for this purpose, but =hand-picking= is the surest method. In the evening, sink a saucer a little way in the border, and fill this with moist bran; =it is irresistible to the slugs=, and when twilight comes on they will steal out from their hiding-places and make a supper off it. Then comes man's opportunity. Armed with a pointed stick and a pail of salt and water, they must be picked off and popped into the =receptacle=, there =to meet a painless death=; one can squash them under foot, but where they are plentiful this is rather a messy proceeding. Snails may be trapped in exactly the same way; =salt or sand= should be placed in a ring round any plant they are specially fond of, or else in a single night they will graze off the whole of the juicy tops. Young growths are their greatest delicacy, hence they are most troublesome in the spring. =Wireworm= is another tiresome enemy well known to carnation growers, and more difficult to get rid of than the slug, owing to its hard and horny covering which resists crushing; salt again, however, is =a splendid cure=. It should be well mixed with the soil though not brought too close to the plants. =Earwigs= are horrid insects to get into a garden; they often come in with a load of manure, simply swarms of them imbedding themselves in such places. Dahlias are the plants they like best, and, if not kept down with a watchful eye, they will completely spoil both flowers and leaves. Hollow tubes, such as short straws, put round will collect many, or =the old plan= of filling an inverted flower-pot with moss is also useful, though somewhat disfiguring, if perched on the tops of the stakes supporting the dahlias. =Mice= are dreadfully destructive, too, especially in the country, and being so quick in their movements they are troublesome to catch. Traps must be baited with the daintiest morsels, to make them turn away from the succulent tops of the new vegetation. Owls and other large birds are most effectual in doing away with these troublesome little animals, a fact which should be taken into account. =Many people from ignorance= destroy birds or insects which may be urgently required to keep down annoying pests--take, for instance, =ladybirds=--the pretty creatures are =invaluable= where there is much green fly, yet how often are they doomed to death by some well-meaning gardener, and it is the same with birds. =A robin or sparrow will eat hundreds of aphides in one day=, so that, unless there are many fruit-trees in the garden, it is most unwise to shoot the dear little songsters; and even in the latter case, if protection can be afforded, by all means save the birds! A while ago some farmers had been so enraged by the devastation made by the sparrows and starlings that they determined to kill all the old birds. The consequence was that they were so over-run the next season by insects of every description, that they had to import birds at great trouble, to take the place of those they had killed. Foes are often mistaken for friends, but occasionally the reverse is the case!

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