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There is nothing that makes a gardener happier than a plot full of healthy, perfect-looking vegetables or flowers. But if there is something that can stop this dream from being a reality, it is garden bugs turning your vegetable or flower bed into a salad bar. In an effort to eradicate these pesky menaces, many people turn to pesticides, which isn’t always the best option. What many of these people do not know is that you can still grow a beautiful garden by applying the following simple, cost-effective and all-natural tips for dealing with pesky garden pests. I know that they work because I use most of them at our wholesale plant business and at home.
Garden Insect Pests
The first thing you need to do is to ensure that your soil is clean and your garden is always tidy to keep garden pests away.
Clean soil. When the soil is clean, it could go a long way in deterring garden pests from making your garden home. However, it is something that will take time to prepare. Here is one method that always works for me:
First, plow organic matter such as compost into your soil when the growing season starts. Adding natural compounds and elements to the soil will not only help keep it clean but will also help deter pests.
After you’ve tilled in some organic matter into your garden, cover it with a black plastic sheet for six months. This will help heat build-up under the sheet, killing most parasites, weeds, garden pests and their eggs, and a variety of harmful microorganisms.
After six months, remove the plastic and lightly plow the soil. Now it is ready for planting.
When buying planting seeds, go for pest and disease-resistant seeds from a trustworthy dealer
It is easier to prevent pests and diseases than it’s to get rid of them once they are in your garden. When looking at seed catalogs, search seed for letters like F, N, T or V after a seed name – these letters indicate the issues the seed is prevalently resistant to. F and V stand for Fusarium and Verticillium, two diseases that commonly affect tomatoes, while N stands for netamodes and T stands for tobacco mosaic virus, a disease that damages the plant’s roots and causes leaves to wilt and yellow.
Aggressively and selectively thin out plants
It is crucial that you do so since small, weakly seedlings tend are more susceptible to becoming diseased. When that happens, they could pass diseases to healthy plants. It is, therefore, advisable that you prune away branches that restrict airflow – plants require proper air circulation to breathe and remain healthy – and dead shoots.
When it comes to watering your plants, do it in the early morning
Why? Because plants need water for photosynthesis to take place, a process that takes place during the day. Furthermore, if you water your plants when the day is far gone, it’s leaves will stay damp at night when it is cooler. That isn’t a good thing since it creates the perfect conditions for fungus to thrive. When watering your plants, soak the roots and avoid wetting the foliage. For this, drip hoses or soakers are a great investment.
Whenever possible, control weeds
Weeds, any unwanted plants, will compete with your flowers or vegetables for essential resources like light, water, and nutrients. At the same time, they tend to harbor garden parasites and pests. So, always make sure that you pull weeds out of the ground from their roots.
Make sure your garden is always clean
Removing fallen leaves, weeds, and faded blooms is crucial as decaying plant matter creates prime breeding grounds for diseases, fungus and garden bugs. Carry a small bucket or pail with you every time you visit your garden and use it carry away pulled weeds. You can make use of a stink bug to get rid of any unwanted pests in your garden.
Make use of insect traps
Buy sticky cards, available in almost all garden centers and place them on the ground and between plant branches and shoots to catch garden bugs that travel through your garden. Get in touch with your county Extension Agent or local garden center for help identifying bad garden bugs from good ones. Good garden bugs like ladybugs, which eat aphids and other pests, can help you keep garden pests at bay.
Not all garden insects are bad
Using beneficial insects such as ladybugs can be instrumental in fighting off pesky garden pests. these insects eat mites, aphids and the larvae and eggs of various destructive insects. Other useful garden bugs include parasitic wasps, praying mantises, and lacewings. Most of these insects can be bought from large horticultural supplies companies. Extension agents can help you determine how many insects you need for your garden. If you are considering using beneficial bugs in your garden, do not use or spay any chemicals ten days before you release the insects.
If you grow one crop in the same spot every year, the garden bugs synonymous with that crop will remain in that area waiting for the next batch of crops you plant. Rotating your crops will not only help avoid this but will also help keep essential soil nutrients from getting depleted. For example, you could plant legumes where you last planted squash, tomatoes or corn (plants that are known to deplete nitrogen in the soil) to inject this vital element back into the soil.
Pinch off infested or dead leaves as soon as you spot them
This will help keep them from infecting the entire plant.