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Keeping Your Vegetable Garden Free of Pests

With proper pest control practices and effective garden maintenance, home gardeners and farmers can cut the losses experienced each year due to garden pests. Did you know that plants that are properly watered, cultivated and fertilize can actually resist pests more than plants that aren’t? There are also plants that are naturally resistant to pests, and these should be used whenever possible.
Some varieties of plants are even resistant to common plant diseases, however few plants can stave off insects. Do not save your own seed to use in your next garden if you have grown your current plants from seed. Plant diseases often originate in seeds. You always want to buy fresh seed every year and get it from vendors that you know offer good quality product. When you are transplanting young plants, take the time to choose seedling that are currently in excellent health. If your seedlings are too weak, young or even too old, it is very likely that they will not survive the shock of the transplant, making them more susceptible to some pests.
An effective and affordable method for controlling a number of soil borne diseases lies in rotating your vegetables around the garden annually. Corn is excellent as a crop that can be alternated. A good plan is a four-year schedule of rotation: grow corn in a location one year, then grow cole crops (greens, cabbage, broccoli) the second year, solanaceous crops (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes) the third year, legumes (peas, beans) the fourth year, then start over with corn again.
Samples of smart sanitation to be utilized for good pest control include making sure that the garden is free of infested crop debris, cull piles, and volunteer plants. It is not a good practice to save plant residues for mulching as many pests are able to survive in the residue. Straw, leaves and other non-garden or non-vegetable materials will always give you the best results. Mulch, however, has a major drawback of its own that should be considered if you are attempting to reduce or eliminate garden pests. Some insects will hide and live inside mulch, allowing them to move beneath the mulch layer and get to your plants before you even know they are there.
Plant viruses can be contained and minimized by using good sanitation practices. Soap and water should be used to wash any hand tools before transplanting or pruning is done. This is especially important if you’re a smoker, because some quite deadly plant viruses actually originate in tobacco.
Weeds can also carry and attract garden pests. It’s best to keep your garden and an area around your garden free of weeds. Weeds can harbor nematodes, mites, beetles, leafhoppers and aphids, as well Physical Pest Control as other insects, and can infect other plants with diseases. Keep your garden well weeded and make sure to clear away any Johnson Grass, it is a perennial weed which can often hide harmful pests.
You’ll also want to control the levels of moisture in your garden in order to avoid harmful pests. Water early in the day to help prevent diseases from setting in. You may not even need to use a fungicide if you take to watering your plants first thing in the morning. You will likely suffer from fungus in watering your plants at night, since fungus loves wet and warm environments; watering at night keeps the moisture on the plants for greater amounts of time.
You can put up a physical barrier or shield to prevent some insects from getting to your newly transplanted plants. You only need a shield that goes into the ground a few inches. Any material from cardboard to leftover roof shingles and empty milk jugs can be used for this. Those barriers will protect the young plants from grubs, cutworms, wireworms, and other destructive insects that feed at Pest Control Field Biologist Jobs or below the surface of the soil. Although you can introduce your own type of predator insect to destroy an existing problem, you should take care to avoid this practice if you are able. Praying mantis, ladybugs, lacewings, syrphid flies, ground beetles and spiders are all types of predator insects that gardeners have learned to introduce to their gardens, but then they avoid destroying them.
If, despite all of your best efforts, these natural methods aren’t keeping pests away you may consider a pesticide, but leave it as a last resort. If you choose to use a pesticide carefully read the instructions on the container. For example, if the directions say you need to wait a specific time period after spraying before you harvest your vegetables, be sure to wait out that period to ensure a healthy harvest.

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