Controlling pests is one of the most challenging tasks for every gardener. At one point, home gardeners find themselves battling with creatures whose existence is hard to tolerate. Pests can effortlessly destroy all garden crops, from common houseplants to hardy vegetables. A pest infestation can be reduced with proper gardening and cultivation methods before resorting to other pest control methods. It means that having well-prepared soil with adjusted pH balance, air circulation, and good drainage can make your pest management simple. Below are some of the ways that one can use to control garden pests.
Use Physical Barriers
Create a physical boundary to prevent pests from getting to your vegetables or fruit garden. There are various approaches to doing this but using a fine net is one of the simplest ways. Position the net over your garden plants and leave enough space for plants to grow and develop. Other barriers that one can use include cardboard collars that protect plant stems, cloches, mini poly-tunnels, electronic pests-deterrents, snail barriers, and copper slugs. There are also garlic barrier products used to repel snails, slugs, and aphids and act as a tonic to plants.
Keep Your Soil Healthy and Fertile
Fertile and healthy soil produces rich and more robust plants that are resistant to insect damages. Add organic matter and dig the soil well before planting to allow healthy root growth and improve its physical properties like water and air availability.
Practice Crop Rotation
Crop rotation involves planting different plant families in other sections of your garden every year to reduce pest infestation. It reduces pest concentration in specific parts and helps in managing soil fertility. Leave at least 2-3 years between growing plants of the same crop family in particular areas. Rotating crops in a small garden can be very challenging. However, if a pest infests a crop, leave the space for at least two years before planting the plant on the same spot. You can also plant a cover crop in the area to allow it to rest for a season.
Attract Beneficial Pests
Not all insects are harmful to your crops. Insects like ladybirds, ground beetles, parasitic wasps greatly benefit a garden as they prey on pests. These insects will naturally come to your garden, looking for pollen, shelter, and nectar. As a gardener, identify these insects and encourage them by planting plants that produce nectar and pollen. Some of these plants include coriander, sweet alyssum, and calendula. Provide these beneficial insects with a nearby habitat where they can lay their eggs and multiply. Garden-friendly insect patrols are essential in controlling garden pests.
Hand Picking Larger Pests
In small vegetable and flower gardens, handpicking larger pests like snails, beetles, and slugs can be quite efficient. Wear a pair of gardening gloves before picking these creatures. If you have a large pest infestation that you cannot control, consider using Excel Pest Control for professional pest control services.
Practice Proper Sanitation
Remove plant debris, weeds, and diseased plant materials from the garden plot. As soon as harvest ends, clean plant residues in the garden to avoid residue pile up. Also, remove diseased and infected plants and immediately dispose of before they contaminate other plants. Weeds and plant debris attract and support pests’ populations and can transmit plant diseases to crops.
Grow Suitable Plants
Native crops are the best option for trouble-free gardening. These plants can naturally thrive in any climate and soils; they don’t require extraordinary care to survive. When choosing for plants, look for resistant varieties and ask for advice from nursery personnel. It is essential for disease-prone plants because they have few control alternatives to fungicides. Also, take good care of your plants to avoid attracting these pests and pay close attention to them by removing damaged, unhealthy, or stressed plants and provide the right conditions for vigorous and healthy plant growth.
Mulch and Compost
Mulching is an essential farming practice. Mulching is an eco-friendly pest control method that prevents weed growth and creates an environment that changes the plant’s development and growth. It also reduces soil damage and the harmful effects of rain and sunshine. Mulch your garden beds and top dress it with compost for healthy plant growth. You can buy mulch from a reputable dealer or cultivate it yourself, but it is important to ensure that your mulch is clean.
Use Companion Plants
Use natural pest control measures and eliminate the use of herbicides or pesticides. Companion planting is all about growing together plants that help and benefit each other to develop. Some plants have natural insect-repellent properties, and others can help with pollination. Every plant has its natural pest preventing properties. For example, planting garlic with vegetables repels aphids, spider mites, and Japanese beetles; Marigolds grown near cucumbers or squash deter aphids, nematodes, and cucumber beetles; basil planted with tomatoes repels hornworms.