As every keen gardener knows, the war on pests is never-ending. You no sooner get rid of one than there's another to be dealt with. Where I live the most virulent pest is friends and neighbours dropping in uninvited and wanting a cutting of this or some advice on that. They quite spoil the prettiest garden and make it very hard to enjoy outdoor living in the meditational privacy I for one so much treasure. Banishing these pests and making sure they don't come back is a perennial chore.

I have recently had a very exciting inspiration in this regard from an article I was reading in an old National Geographic at the dentist. It was about Amazonian Indians in the Brazilian jungle. Apparently many of them find that, what with one thing and another, there are people around them who make pests of themselves and need to be got rid of. One knows how they feel. Well, to make a long story short, these ingenious inhabitants of the rainforest have devised an infallible form of pest control that is just perfect for the Australian garden too. Let me explain.

First they dig a deep pit - they do this themselves but I would recommend getting a maintenance person to do it because it's very hard work - or if you have a hubby you also want to get rid of and he has cardiac problems, well, look no further! Then they embed some pointed stakes in it (the kind you can get from any good garden supplier). Stand them vertically, about 50 centimetres apart. IT IS ESSENTIAL to keep the sharp end uppermost and not to stint on the stakes. About three dozen would be a minimum for a normal-sized pit.

The next step is to cover the pit by placing a very simple timber frame across it - a piece of trellis would do if the timber's not too solid. You camouflage this with grass and leaves so it can't be seen. The next time a pest drops in, steer him or her towards the pit and dropping in will be exactly what they do - and there's no risk they'll be back again tomorrow either!

I am now having a series of pits dug at strategic points along my front path. When they're ready I intend to give a little garden party for all my regular droppers-in and hopefully after that I'll be left in peace. I'll keep you posted (no pun intended!).

N.B. DO fill in the pit and trample down well as soon as it's full! And DO memorise the location of the pits! Otherwise you'll find yourself joining the droppers-in. And wouldn't that be the pits?

Readers will find earlier gardening notes by "Edna" on 23 March, 24 April and 12 September 2012.

20 November 2012

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