In the Garden: Useful gimmicks provide gardeners pest protection

Over the years, I’ve tried out all kinds of gardening extras. Some I still cherish, others not so much, while a few more would likely be perfect for someone with a different type of garden and very diligent habits.

For instance, slug saloons, designed to invite the slimy critters to drink their way into a happy demise, are now manufactured in a larger size and with more apertures, capable of holding 40 bodies in a single night.

Forgetting to check slug saloons every day can lead to experiences best forgotten.

A totally beautiful slug shield is a scramble of woven copper wire which you wrap around the plant that you want to protect, and can unwrap when necessary.

It would be important to keep up to date with weeding, because slugs are quick to cross plant “bridges.”

Another lovely garden accessory is the fake wasp nest, said to deter wasps from buildings nearby. Regardless of how far away the real wasps would relocate, the make-believe nest is definitely worth a spot in the garden (or over a doorway) for attractiveness alone.

Another good-looking addition to the garden is an expanding willow-wood trellis that would be a sturdy support for those fascinating but annoying heritage beans – the scrambling types that are not sturdy enough to be dwarf beans, but too short to be pole beans.

The trellis is also a simple, easy support for cucumbers or short peas.

Sometimes peas are planted thickly and left to support each other – and united, they do stand. But picking pods out of such a tangle takes a lot more time than trellising the plants.

The willow trellis comes in two sizes, expanding to either 1.6 metres (four feet) or 3.1m (eight feet). Both are 1.6m high.

One of my favourite accessories is a heating mat for starting seeds quickly by providing bottom heat. My elderly and so-useful mat is about 25×50 centimetres (10×20 inches), but there’s now a windowsill version that measures about 6x50cm about (3×20 inches).

Flexible, light Tubtrugs, available in a variety of colours, look like an improvement on my random collection of detergent buckets, spackle pails, and other clunky old cast-offs. Each Tubtrug has two handles, and can be squeezed narrow to pour liquids. There are small (14 litre), medium (26 litre), and large (38 litre) versions.

Topsy Turvey tomato (or strawberry) planters have become very popular. These hanging pots with flowers and fruit cascading down the sides make the tomatoes easy to pick, and their high, sunny locations result in more fruit, because of their visibility to pollinating insects.

Seniors might want to make sure they’re strong enough to hang up such planters in spring and take them down in fall. It’s also helpful to stick to a lightweight soil mix in the pots.

Netting is a universal way of protecting berries and vegetables from birds and animals. But sadly, birds are especially likely to get tangled in it.

Freeing birds from such netting can be difficult, and sometimes heart-breaking.

Smaller mesh sizes keep birds safer, while still being excellent deterrents.

Mesh sizes of about 1.5cm (half-inch) are available.

The black Bird D-Fence netting is especially effective over pools. In shady areas, it’s almost invisible.

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