in War by E. J. KING
frIAY is a fine mo,gth for pests. . Last week we talked aoout aphis of various kinds, and some
ot the insectmioes we can use. lnts
week we snail tackle a similar problem "font a ditlerent angle. Until we take up gardening, particularly vegetable gardening, we do not reahse how many things can happen to a plant on Its Way from the seed packet to the kitchen table.
For example, there's the carrot fly and the onion fly. These small creatures in their travels come across our garden with several rows of their favourite hosts and our favourite vegetables vowing together. Needless to say, the strong smell of our collections of plants entices them away from odd members of the same family which happen to be growing in the fields, All the more so are these pests drawn to our garden when Ilse have been weeding or thinning the plants, because our bruising of the tissues raises quite a strong smell of onions or carrots as the case may he. This sounds simple. It is, but it is most important. The less the smell of carrots, the less likely will the pests be to invade us.
For all practical purposes we can't go sowing an cod tow of this ano an odd row of that; we should still get the flies because even one row is quite a banquet for them. But we can minimise their invasions by sowing very thinly in the first case, and so avoiding excessive thmining. More than that, we at the same time remove the necessity of senultanectusly disiurbMg the soil around those seedlings which reraain, It we have to disturb the soil by thinning, we should at the end of every row go back and press it firmly round the seedlings. It certainly pays. The ,flies usually Tay eggs in the disturbed soil neat the roots. And if we have to Cause a carroty smell we can minimise that by causing a strange smell to arise, either by bruising parsley or mint and scattering it about or by laying a string soaked in paraffin between the rows or by scattering old soot. So when you thin your carrots and onions this month, bear these consideratioris in 'mind.
BACK TO OUR SIMPLES
A lot of work has been done by scientists recently on the usefulness of the " herb " type of smell in driving away garden pests. It certainly looks as though there's a lot to be said for the old idea of having herbs and fragrant plants up and down the garden. In fact. you can go so far as growing certain herbs with certain vegetables to protect them. But generally speaking.
am confident we could do a lot worse than have some of die I ollowing as edgtngs or " dot " plants alongside the garden path. This is especially to be recommended where the garden adjoins the house.
Parsley is very useful in itself, melts.. and a pest deterrent. Thyme, too, can be grown, and brushed in passing. Lavender, rosemary and sage can be similarly treated, the first-named snaking a good low hedge to provide shelter where needed. Near the path it is very pretty. Catmint flowers nearly all the summer, and smells strong if grown where the feet brush it. Thymus serpyllum and lvientha Reqhienii are splendid carpeters with marked fragrance. Here and there I grow a plant of the double feverfew (Pyrethrum), which in my home district they call Bachelor's Buttons. Its pungent yet pleasant smell keeps any flies away. Ladslove or Southernwood is another old favourite with the same qualities.