Patch from Scratch August – prepare now and protect against pests

We’re on the count down to spring folks, on hindsight, winter doesn’t seem to have been that bad this year.  Maybe it just that I’m on an uncontrollable high at the moment.  We’ve just moved into our dream home, hence the lateness of the newsletter being sent out, sorry.  The garden comes complete with a delicious array of mature fruit trees including fig, Feijoa, apple, nectarine, avocado, olive, mandarin, and lemon.  I am rubbing my hands together with glee at the thought of starting a new vege patch from scratch and getting a couple of hens!

Prepare now & protect against pests

Plant the right companion flowers in August to attract beneficial insects into your garden, ready for when the pests turn up in spring!   If you only have a small vege patch you may want to plant the companion flowers in pots, by doing this you can also move them around the patch, putting them close to any vegetables that pests have taken a liking to.  There are many companion plants you can use, here are my top three.

Phacelia has little purpley-blue flowers that produce an abundance of pollen which attracts hoverflies.  The Hoverfly larvae will be your own little army of natural allies for a number of vege garden pests including aphids, scale insects, mealy bugs and psyllids.

French Marigolds are fantastic repellers of both soil living pests and flying pests. A hardy, annual plant, French Marigolds should have their dead flowers regularly removed to encourage new growth.  They have the ability to deter soil living nematodes as well as whitefly, and white cabbage butterfly.  Known as a soil cleanser, you can just dig the remains into the soil once the plant has died.

Sage is a fantastic culinary herb, and also does wonders for the vege garden. Grown as a border or in a container, its fragrant leaves will attract beneficial bees into the vege patch and repel pests such as carrot fly and cabbage moths simultaneously.  As a perennial it is still protecting your plants during autumn and winter when some of the other beneficial companions have died.

In addition to planting beneficial companions, it is a good idea to let some of your winter vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, pak choi and mustard lettuce go to seed, their flowers will attract the beneficial companions as well.

Soil for fruit trees

I’ve been chatting to our fruit tree expert about planting fruit trees. If you planning to plant, get them in the ground by mid September.

If you’ve got clay soil, add potting mix

If you’ve got fine volcanic soil add compost which has a water holding capacity

If you’ve got sandy soil, (usually in coastal areas) you need to add a friable clay compost or granular clay.

nz flat worm

NZ Flat worm  courtesy of

The flatworm can be found as a soil insect, and is often mistaken as a slug. The name ‘flatworm’ comes from its flattened appearance and stretched out body. New Zealand flatworms are often coloured and vary stripes or spots over their bodies. Their bodies are extremely fragile and can be damaged by a gentle touch.

Within gardens they are a predator that attacks other insects such as snails and slugs, which is great for your garden; however they also prey on earthworms which are beneficial to have in your soil. They have the potential to wipe out large populations of earthworms and due to their ability to reduce the body surface exposed to the air, they are particularly hard to find.  On the positive side, as with all worms, they are great at aerating the soil.  I have had mixed viewpoints as to whether they are a goodie or a baddie in the garden, so depending on how you feel you can either encourage or discourage them by creating attractive conditions.

Flatworms are drawn to damp places in the soil or under leaf litter and once captured may die quickly and decompose within a few hours.  Getting rid of them is really a case of hunting them out.  You could set up conditions that they will be attracted to then collect them up and dispose of them. Alternatively, they are very dependent on a humid environment so if you’ve got vege patches that are resting at the moment, you could try sprinkling them with salt and letting them really dry out.

What to plant in August (seedlings only)




Perpetual spinach



If you want to grow your own veges and could do with a helping hand to get the right start, then you may want to seek help.  Patch from Scratch offers an all inclusive service building vege beds for beginner organic gardeners and busy people and helping you to get up and growing.  We also offer Kits sets for DIY enthusiasts and a consultancy service for people who really want to do it all themselves but just need a bit of guidance.    For more on our services click here or call us for details 09 525 7897 / 021 334 603.

One comment on “Patch from Scratch August – prepare now and protect against pests

  1. I have tiny slugs which seem to crawl out of the grass and garden and dry out all over the concrete. I am in Hamilton, just moved here and haven’t come across this before. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

48,280 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>