So, what's the most organic way of deterring pests, and when should you pick your crop?
Use some 'companion planting' as an organic method of pest control amongst your burgeoning salad leaves.
Clover alongside cabbage has been shown to reduce the native cabbage aphid, while planting dill and garlic near lettuce is known to repel spider mites and aphids. And marigolds are widely believed to keep a lot of garden insects away in general. Mint deters white cabbage moths, ants, rodents, flea beetles and aphids, while mint flowers attract hoverflies and pest-devouring wasps. However be careful when planting mint in the ground though as it's a particularly invasive plant in garden beds.
Always keep the plants well watered and pick leaves from around the outside of plants, which will help ensure a steady supply of fresh new leaves. Many salad leaf mixes will be ready for picking around three weeks after they have been sown. Aim to pick your leaves in the morning when they are at their most fresh and will be crisp. Once plants start to flower, pull them up and put on the compost heap as leaves are likely to turn bitter tasting.
For more on harvesting vegetables, check out our guide.
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