Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

They shall not pass! How do you keep out the pests from your garden?

Pests come in all shapes and forms. Obviously the bigger they are the more damage they can do, but often it is easier to keep out the larger than the smaller. The larger pests, wallabies, possums, rats birds, etc. need a barrier to stop them from doing damage which is not always easy to erect, but once you have them in place are usually effective.

As I garden in a lot of above ground containers, (old baths, laundry tubs, sacks, etc.), it stops some of the access that normal garden beds give to pests. It also allows me to make cage shields which fit the container. The cages are wooden framed with steel mesh. The smaller meshed ones are the best as they keep out even moths, but as I got the mesh given to me I have used all of it and if I am protecting things that moths don't like everything is hunkey dorey.

Smaller insects like fruit fly need vege net. It works very well, but it's always a struggle to have enough and move it on to the next crop in time. I find that it degrades in sun but will last for around 3 years before it starts to shred. It is expensive to buy, especially from places like Green Harvest. A place in Stanthorpe that either makes it or distributes it called NETPRO (I think) will sell large pieces which could be cut up if a group of people wanted to club together. This would be by far the most cost effective way of getting some.

I use frames to hang it on made from star pickets and bamboo or PVC pipe strung across and tied. I often used wooden pegs to fix the net to the bath edges. 

I also clean up any stung fruit religiously, although there is not a lot of this these days, the damn FF always seem to be able to find something to ruin. I have not had much success with sprays / baiting and to put the recommended Wild May or similar bait stations around would be very costly.

Possums don't like netting that waves around and is not fixed. So I have used a small fence of chook mesh around 2 to 3 feet high around a garden bed. This is not tied but just pushed up against the walls of the garden bed and it flops around at the top. Apparently Possums will not climb anything that is not secure so this seems to keep them out. 

I will post some photos when the website is back to normal.


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Comment by Roger Clark on June 14, 2016 at 6:04

Dave, your protection methods are working well for you, but for me I have yet to try growing via a polyculture. This would have a lot of advantages, but would probably take more organisation, e.g. to ensure that you have enough of everything planted for your needs. and I have enough trouble doing this when dealing with planting in small groups (a bath full at a time). My lack of a dog and some chooks is also a problem, which one day (the chooks) will be overcome, but for now I'll have to do without them. Fruit fly is less of a problem now that I use vege net, but possums, rabbits and wallabies would no doubt be less of a problem if I had a vigilant dog around. We have always had a dog around, but decided that we would be travelling a lot and so a dog would need to be looked after. Well our travelling phase is now more or less over, but we have yet to resume having a canine friend. 

Comment by Dave Riley on June 13, 2016 at 10:42

Dogs. Terriers. Best defence against mammalian pests.

As for the insect world -- i plant willy nilly polyculture. I do some clump planting but i make sure i have the clumps of the same species separated a tad so if one gets gets infected the other may not.

Fruit fly on the other hand...Here's an option.

I do a sort of improvised companion planting -- but the only thing i can affirm is the use of marigolds and nasturtiums. I suspect my dog bane (I grow it all over), which has a pungent odour, may also be effective in confusing bugs. 

While i have a couple of ponds and sponsor froggery etc, the microbat nests I built have not as yet been occupied by these ravenous insecticides. I built an insect hotel too -- and that too is waiting for tenants.

I also sponsor a large skint population.

These last few years the plagues I got were 24 spot ladybird (on potatoes), stink bugs on my vines, and, three years ago, leaf hoppers. 

But really, I just go with the flow -- and hope for the best and look for plants that survive the attacks. Then plant more of those.

My worst experience was with a bush turkey. Almost caused me to have a mental and emotional breakdown. The dogs let me down.

 I do get rats in the passionfruit and now and then set traps for same. The dogs usually attend to the rodents anyway. But then, I'm drowning in  passionfruit...and that may indeed be cause for fruit fly occupation.

Comment by Roger Clark on June 13, 2016 at 7:56

Yeah Darren,

I wouldn't even mind so much if they just took a fair share of the produce and left me some, but they seem to be very greedy. No manners what so ever.

Comment by DARREN JAMES on June 12, 2016 at 21:41

Hi Roger Im with you all the way regarding the netting.My drum gardens,currently I  use 10 off and really do swear by them as shown in earlier articles  seldom give me problems although caterpillars will infiltrate with newly added compost if not careful.Cant understand why more people dont do this,it can be a lot of work this growing vegetable stuff only to see the hens, cabbage moth ,possums etc dispose  of it so quickly before your eyes without even getting to taste it.

Comment by Rob Collings on May 11, 2016 at 0:23

With you on respect for those farmers Roger. Those cage frames are really nice, I'm losing most of my cabbages and will have to protect these plants much better, thanks for sharing and watch out for Andy, he'd be after more Quail cages ;)

Comment by Roger Clark on May 10, 2016 at 6:57

Without these protections I wouldn't bother to grow much. I have an admiration for farmers who have to cope with all the pests as well as not getting regular rain for their crops. I couldn't earn a living like that.

Comment by Lissa on May 10, 2016 at 4:57

You're very resourceful Roger. What a lot of effort we have to go to to grow and protect our crop sometimes.

Comment by Roger Clark on May 9, 2016 at 8:11

As promised / threatened, here are some snaps. The cages are around 4 years old now and the softwood is beginning to deteriorate now, My next frames will be of light weight metal and should outlast me.

Comment by Roger Clark on May 9, 2016 at 8:08

Comment by Roger Clark on May 9, 2016 at 7:53

Yes Phil, I can lean over to the edges ,but have to step over to access the middle, this involves pushing the fence down as I do it and then pulling it back up again after I've finished.

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

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