Being in your garden is such a pleasure when you can stand, look around and see all your hard work literally come to fruition. What may not be such a pleasure are the pests in your garden. You always have to keep these under control or you can find your garden overrun.
If you want your plants to remain healthy and to have as few pests as possible among your flowers and vegetables, here are a few tips that can help.
The relationship plants share with the soil is the one we share with our food. If you eat junk, you won’t be healthy. If your plants are in bad soil, they won’t be healthy. The best way to know what kind of soil you have? Get a soil test.
A soil test will not only be able to identify the type of soil you have. It will also be able to tell you if you have any microbes or fungi in your soil that are bad for your plants. You can find advice on recognising the signs of soil problems at Harper Nurseries as well as what you can do about it.Once you understand what’s going on at the soil level, you should be able to take preventative and corrective measures.
If you find from your soil test that you are missing key plant nutrients, you can add them with fertilizer, or with compost. Let’s say your soil was missing nitrogen. This is a key nutrient to help plants grow well. You can add a nitrogen fertilizer to your soil to improve it.
However, many people are trying to garden without synthetic additions to their soil. You can use compost if this is the case with you. Compost is organic material that has been broken down over a period of time.
Plants grow best in soil that has a high level of organic material. When compost is added to soil, it provides nutrients that may be lacking. You can use a combination of fertilizer and compost, if this suits you.
3. Pick healthy plants for your garden
Sometimes the problem isn’t your soil. It may be the plants you purchase. You may not want to think that your home garden store may have sold you unhealthy plants, but it sometimes happens.
You need to check the leaves, stems and roots for signs that the plant has fungus or is sick in some other way. Once you bring an unhealthy plant home, you are most likely transfering that fungus into your soil and possibly, to your other plants as well.
4.Get plants that are less prone to pests
Some plant species are more prone to pest invasion than others. It may disappoint you, but you may just have to choose more robust plants for your garden.
You can also purchase hardier versions of plants and vegetables that are usually prone to pests at your garden store. These are usually indicated with a special label. You may have to pay a little more, but think of the peace of mind you’ll gain from thwarting pests.
5. Watch how you water your plants
Water is life giving to plants. If you water them incorrectly, you may be providing moisture for fungus and pests to grow. When you water your plants, wet the roots and not the leaves or stems. The leaves and stems have no real way to absorb the water and the excess moisture promotes fungus growth.
Even if you are only watering your roots you still need to be careful. If your soil drains poorly, it may cause your roots to rot. Waterlogged soil may also encourage fungus growth that can spread to your soil.
6.Encourage insects that help manage pests
Your garden is an ecosystem. Just as you have potentially damaging insects and microbes, there are also insects and organisms that are considered good to have in your garden.
These “good” insects will help you reduce the population of bad ones since, most times, the bad ones serve as food for the good ones. Insects you’ll want to encourage are: bees, ladybugs, spiders, aphids, mantises and beetles.
7.Don’t crowd the plants
Don’t crowd all of your plants into a small plot. Root systems need room to spread and each plant needs sufficient nutrients from the soil. When you crowd plants, you force them to compete. It is also easier for disease to spread among plants that are too close to each other.
Show your garden some love by employing these tips next time you work there. You’ll be rewarded with healthy plants and a pest free garden.