Tips for Preventing Pests in Your Garden

Pest Control
Preventing Garden Pests Aphids

With the warmer weather in the garden the plants start to thrive and become more lush. As a gardener, you will be more than happy to see this. The trouble is, your healthy, lush plants attract insects and other pests. This is often a big problem, especially for vegetable gardening.

Insects and other pests love those tasty vegetables. They can destroy your garden and all your efforts in no time. To prevent this from happening and to drive pests away from your vegetables, there are several effective tips you can use.

How to Discourage Pests

Here are some quick tips and tricks you can use to prevent pests from damaging your vegetables:

  • Plant early. It's best to get your transplants in the ground as early as possible. It may be risky in cooler climates, but it's a great way to prevent initial pest problems. There are just not as many insects and other pests during early months, so it's best to start your vegetables early in the season to prevent the initial pest attack.
  • Keep your garden well-weeded. Your garden should be weeded and cultivated to prevent pest problems. Healthy soil and a clean, weed-free garden is a good way to keep pests away. Keep the soil clean and remove weeds on a regular basis.
  • Organic mulches are great for your plants but they also attract pests. Try to find the best amount of mulch to use so your plants benefit from it but without inviting too many pests to your garden. Cover the crops if you can. A simple plastic mesh is great for keeping common insects away. This is a very affordable method you can use to prevent insects from attacking your vegetables.
  • Consider planting only insect-resistant plants. Search online or ask the experts on the types and varieties of vegetables and herbs that are naturally unattractive to pests.
  • Rotate crops. By doing this, you will avoid planting the same type of plants on the same spot over and over again. This will lower the damage caused by the over-wintering pests living inside the soil.
  • Pest problems are not limited to insects. Keep in mind other animals known to attack plants. For example, you can install chicken wire or mesh fencing to keep rabbits and small rodents out. To prevent snails and caterpillars, put crushed eggshells around the bases of your plants.
  • Use pesticides and other pest-control methods. This seems like the most logical choice, but it's best to apply all of the other tips together to maximize the result and to minimize the need for pesticides. Also, keep in mind that you don't have to use commercial chemical pesticides. In fact, it's best if you don't - they can be harmful for the plants and consumption if they are not washed off. Also, they can kill both harmful pests and beneficial insects. To avoid these problems, if you have to use a pesticide, stick to organic ones or limit pesticide use as much as you can.

Pest-Preventing Plants

There are certain plants you can use to prevent specific pests from attacking your garden:

  • Mint, chives and basil keep aphids away.
  • Thyme, dill and cilantro keep leafhoppers away.
  • Garlic, catnip and yarrow are great for keeping potato beetles away.
  • Eucalyptol will discourage mosquitoes. While not pests per se, you sure don't want them in your garden. Use products with eucalyptol to keep them away.

Photo credit: Martin Cooper

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