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Bedford Gardener Gives Tips on Invasive Species

BEDFORD, N.Y. --  Invasive species are a problem for any gardener, just ask Catherine Clare, a master gardener who spends much of her time in the Bedford Audubon’s large communal garden, planting and harvesting crops. She knows first-hand the problems that local critters can inflict on a garden.

“Pests are always more or less part of the organic gardening experience,” said Clare. “And I think it's safe to say that the longer a garden is in place the more pests find it.”

Local gardens, including the Bedford Audubon’s garden, have to combat native animals and insects looking to eat crops. Clare said deer are a problem for most gardens.

“Deer, of course, are rampant and notorious here in northern Westchester. They eat just about anything and everything,” she said.

To keep out deer, Clare suggests simple deer fencing around the garden. While that will do the trick to keep bigger animals out, insects may still remain a problem.

Clare suggests using eco-friendly methods instead of pesticides that harm the environment.

Companion planting is one such technique.

“'Companion planting’ is when you plant certain crops next to one another with the belief that the smell of one will repel insects from the other," Clare said. One example of this is planting marigolds next to plants suffering from greenflies.

For a more hands off approach Clare said gardeners can sit back and wait for Mother Nature to take care of intrusive insects.

“Birds, in particular, eat insects, especially at the caterpillar stage, which helps the garden,” she said.

If none of these methods work and you find your garden over run with insects, Clare said removing the bugs by hand is always an option.

What species have you had a problem with in your garden?

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