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Getting rid of snails, caterpillars and curl grubs

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purpleapple1234 Sat 24-Sep-16 08:28:59

Any advice of how to control or preferably get rid of the following pests: caterpillars, curl grubs (cockchafers/beetle larvae) and snails. Although I should say that I live in Australia.

Last year we moved to a house with a concrete garden so started growing flowers and veggies in pots. Between the 3 of these little sods, nearly everything died or just got eaten. The curl grubs were the worst as it took me months to figure out what was going on and as they live in the soil, digging up the plant and replacing the soil was the only option then.

So I have decided to get the little buggers at the start of a new growing season. This is what I have been doing so far:

snails - they laugh in the face of snail/slug pellets and I don't like using them anyway (no slugs though). I tried a beer trap (as advised by the internet) and they ignored it. So I am hand picking them and killing them. Seems the most effective, if time-consuming method so far. I have found that they don't like geraniums and fuchsias, so I am growing more of these.

caterpillars - these are steadily munching through my geraniums and suspect that they will go for the veggies once they start coming through. Using chemical sprays at the moment, although the current one - Yates pyrethrum insect pest - has helped a bit, but they are still creating holes in the leaves, so it is not that effective.

curl grubs - I have found around 10 already in my pots. My husband decided to help me in the garden and planted about 4 eggplants in a pot that needed to be transplanted once they germinated - that's when I found them (surprising as last year they were the one vegetable that seemed to be immune to these grubs). I started using Richgo Lawn and beetle grub killa as a soil drench about a month ago, which did not work one bit. Anyway I have changed the soil and am now trying Eco Neem, which is expensive. I will have to wait to see if it has been effective (although how? dig up the plant to check?) Again I have not found them in pots of geraniums, fuchsias, marguerite daisies and chillis. I am experimenting with pouring a dilute detergent solution over the soil and hoping that they come to the surface, then I will happily feed them to the birds.

Thanks for reading (those that are still here). Any advice will be massively appreciated. If you detect a note of obsession, you'd be right. I've wanted to grow my own vegetables for so long - coming from a much colder climate - that I was hugely peed off last year to lose nearly all my plants to these little buggers. Although my gardening skills may account for some of the failure!

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