Pest control for the vegetable garden can start as early as March.
We’ve compiled a checklist of things you can do as the ground starts to thaw to help prevent pests from consuming those delicious, home grown vegis you have dreamed about all winter. What we can’t help with is figuring out what to do with all of that zucchini you’ll have by harvest!
Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants
Whether you are starting your seedlings indoors or prefer to stroll through the rows of the local garden center and purchase starters, the care you take to select or raise your plants will directly reflect in the heartiness and insect resistance in the plant before you even put them in the ground. It’s equally important to take the extra care and steps to prepare the ground to keep your plants that way.
- Have your soil tested at a local extension office or purchase a kit from garden center. Amend the soil according to the test results. If pH levels are above 7.0 the ground is alkaline and below 7.0 the soil is more acidic. Staff at your local garden center can recommend the best additives for correction.
- Add a thick layer of organic matter such as “sweet peet” or similar product, compost or decomposed manure (preferably chicken or sheep) to soil in order to attain the loam that plants thrive in.
- Rotate crops each year
Herbs to the Rescue
The concept of companion planting has been around for centuries. Strategically adding a few herbs throughout the garden placed near plants prone to insect damage can help deter the hungry pests. Most garden invaders rely on their sense of smell which is why planting fragrant herbs that pests find offensive is beneficial.
Plant basil near tomatoes to deter whiteflies
Lavender confuses damaging pests and attracts beneficial ones
Garlic, rosemary and sage repel pests that range from deer to cabbage moths
There are further benefits to companion planting. Well chosen herbs can also lure beneficial insects to garden that are predators to damaging insects. Landscaping to attract hungry birds is also wise Landscaping to attract birds Just be sure to remember to cover those enticing fruits and berries with netting.
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