You can make out by the name that this one is going to have to be a series
You would be surprised by the number of pests and insects you might encounter even in a terrace garden. In my case I have towering trees all around my terrace, so that might be an added reason, but pests are in any case one of the biggest challenges when growing in containers.
The variety of beautiful insects (not all friendly to my plants) you can find in a terrace garden in the middle of the concrete jungle really amaze me! One of the most common questions on any gardening forum is to know how to deal with a particular pest, so I thought I would start addressing the most common ones.
Mealy bugs: These are the white cottony looking creatures in varied sizes that you might find on many plants and are the most common pests I have heard complaints about.
Though most would rush to spray something or the other immediately, I always maintain that the big reason for pest attacks and especially for mealy bugs is that the plant lacks in nutrition in some way and the bugs can sense this weakness.
So, step 1 for handling a mealy bug attack is to set up a schedule for nutrition for the plants. You can use easily available items such as vermicompost and panchagavya, and also go one step further and brew your own compost tea for even more effective nutrition.
If the infestation is very bad, you can wipe off the bugs with a piece of cloth or cotton dipped in 50% solution of spirit and water. A gardener friend also recommends whiskey in place of spirit as the most organic solution as it is edible as well
Aphids: Aphids are a type of sucking pests that live on the sap of the leaves and deprive them of nutrition. If left without controlling, these can lead to loss of the plant itself. If you find the aphids before they have multiplied and become too numerous, you can use just a water spray to displace them from your plants. Once knocked off, they do climb back but after about three repetitions you will find the number decreased significantly.
Neem spray is most recommended for control of aphids, but I have personally found that it works best if combined with something like onion or garlic. This basically means juicing the onion or garlic and letting it stand for some time before combining and spraying immediately on the affected plants.
Considering that growing on the terrace is much smaller in scale compared to farming on land, we need to take the luxury of checking the plants everyday including under the leaves so that we can identify pests early and take action in the least invasive way immediately. Those of us who take up gardening as a hobby, and find that it soon becomes a passion and takes over your life, learn along the way that prevention and early intervention is definitely the better way.