Keeping Your Garden Healthy: Combatting Pests and Diseases
Garden pests and diseases are prevalent during fall. Once pests appear, they tend to return each year. If plant diseases are given a chance to spread, they are nearly impossible to remove completely. Together these threats can ruin an entire garden, so protect it with these simple tricks!
There are two main tactics to get rid of pests: crop rotation and introducing helpful insects into the environment. Pests tend to attack the same plant each year. Relocating your crops will prevent them from returning.
The second method is adding beneficial insects to your garden that feed on pests. Ladybugs, praying mantises, and green lacewings are the most common garden helpers. You can buy these insect larvae at your local garden center.
Japanese beetles are one of the most common vegetable pests in North America. You can repel these insects by spreading grinded stone called “garden lime” on the leaves of your plants. The acidic contents of the powder deters the beetles from consuming the leaves.
Weeds and undesired plants can harbor diseases and spread them to your crops. Minimize these intrusions by mulching your beds and pulling unwanted plants as soon as you spot them. To learn more about mulching, click here.
Leaves are the infection point of most plants. Pinch off any discolored or malformed leaves as soon as possible. This will prevent the infection from spreading to healthy parts of the plant.
If you use stakes to support plants in your garden, you should disinfect them with organic soap and warm water or replace them annually.
Covering Your Garden
The most common ways to shield your garden are cover crops and fabric row covers. Cover crops are plants with the sole purpose of covering the soil. They prevent weeds and other harmful plants from growing while giving an alternate point of attack for disease.
Row covers are fabric designed to cover your entire garden, creating a barrier between your plants and the environment. This keeps pests away from your produce and makes disease less likely since there is less moisture and insect activity under the row covers.
These methods will combat the majority of common pests and diseases, leaving you with a healthy garden and yield! Comment below any homebrew tactics you use for pest and disease prevention!