Weeks and weeks ago I planted a round of sunflowers and hollyhocks against the fence... and some buggers ate over half of them :X I was not impressed! So disappointing, to put all those hopes and sunflower dreams into the ground and have them disappear into insect bellies virtually overnight. Luckily for me, I had more on the go to put in at a later date. I got my gear together, and I was more organised this time. I have experience with this after the earwig epidemic in my garden last year.
I had sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis), cheap vegetable oil, and a bottle of ultra-light beer I found left in the back of the fridge after a party. Do snails like light beer? I hope so!
I also had a little stash of recycled tins and plastic containers. I would have liked to have more but I only remembered to start saving them up earlier in the week.
I use the containers, the beer, the soy sauce and the oil to make insect traps. Here's a photo of one of my efforts last year. I can't say for sure if they actually kept the insects away from my plants, but they certainly attracted a lot of bugs who fell to sticky - and beery - ends.
If you've never tried this before, all you do is bury your container with the opening flush with the top of the soil and add a good splash of beer, oil, soy sauce, or a mix of all the above and then sit back and wait. Every so often you tip out the bug soup and top it up again with fresh attracting gloop (be warned, bug soup stinks).
I now have a row of insect traps all the way along the fence, each about two feet apart, with my seedlings all planted nearby. I planted out a second round of butternut pumpkins today too (the first were also eaten) and I am so keen for them to survive the hoards that I have a beer trap, and an oil/soy trap for three seedlings.
So good luck, new sunflowers (Giant Russians and a solitary Prado Red);
Best wishes, hollyhocks;
Thinking of you, my coriander and dill.
I would have liked these babies to be a little bigger and more resistant to attack before I planted them out, but we are off on a month long holiday in only 10 days and so it was now or never. Pleasepleaseplease let them not be eaten this time!