Everyone loves a good-looking garden, but maintaining a healthy and beautiful one is a whole different story. Garden maintenance does not just end with ensuring that your plants are growing nicely, but it also takes some strategy and a little bit of planning to make sure everything looks perfect all year round.
Some of the biggest problems that you’ll encounter with a garden are insects and pests. However, there are a number of ways that you can stop them from causing any more destruction and prevent them from cohabitating with your plants to begin with.
First and foremost, we have to go back to gardening fundamentals and remember the most important lessons when it comes to taking care of your plants.
Pick What You Grow Strategically
Always have a plan in place before you start growing anything in your garden as some plants are more attractive to pests than others. There are some varieties of plants that are almost pest resistant, and if you are worried about your vegetable patch, you can pick pest resistant vegetables. There are some vegetable varieties with characteristics that make it harder for pests to like them, e.g. the King Harry potato, whose hairy leaves beetles won’t touch.
Grow Healthier Plants
This may seem basic to any horticulturist, garden aficionado or anyone with a green thumb, but it’s one of the best ways of preventing pests from overriding you garden. Healthy plants are unattractive to any pest. They can even fight off pests on their own with their in-built chemical defense system using any number of alkaloids and terpenoids depending on the plant. Plants just like humans have their own defenses when dealing with danger.
When you have a variety of plants growing in the same area, it makes it even harder for a potential pest to find its host plant. Think of it as confusing the insect. There is still a lot of research around intercropping, but it’s still one of the more effective ways of preventing pests.
Steps to Prevents Pests in Your Garden
Once we’ve gotten your fundamentals down, it’s time for us to make it even harder for pests to invade our gardens. Follow these quick tips to keep your garden pest free!
Put Up Barriers
Pests won’t be able to gnaw at your garden if there is a physical barrier preventing them from doing so. Some plants are more susceptible to pests than others and for cases such as these it would help to have floating row covers or barriers preventing pests from reaching your greenery. Don’t forget to remove the covers when it’s time for pollinators to come around.
Look into cloches since they act as tiny greenhouses for young plants and seedlings.
Get Rid of Potential Pest Homes
Always keep a clean garden. Get rid of weeds and any kind of debris that could provide a home and nesting ground to pests that could destroy your garden. Forgetting to keep a tidy garden leaves breeding grounds for unwanted insects.
Maintain Healthy Soil
This helps keep your plants healthy and healthier plants are much more resistant to pests that may come their way. There are numerous methods that you can employ and you should always seek to top dress your soil with good compost or natural fertilizer.
Weakness Cannot Be Tolerated
Weak plants are natural targets for pests. Apart from clearing out your garden of debris you should also assess the health of your plants. Weaker plants are either already infected or bound to be destroyed by pests. Don’t be afraid to be utilitarian with your garden, the good of the many outweigh the weaker plants.
Setup Some Traps
You also have the option of trapping pests and making sure that they don’t even think of going near your plants. Yellow flypaper is useful for trapping whiteflies and aphids, you can even make your own with some tanglefoot. Pheromones can also be used as a way of attracting insects to sticky traps.
It’s not just insects that you have to worry about, but sometimes rodents as well. Now rodents pose an exceptional threat not only to the growth and health of your garden, but also to the rest of your house. At the start they could just be in your garden, but before long they could very much be scurrying in your house causing you a lot of interior damage.
To minimize the likelihood of rodents invading your garden, look into securing all open food sources, including the compost bins that you have. Soak a rag in peppermint and place it in places of rodent activity, they are allergic to it. (This is also a useful way of keeping rabbits away.)
Professional Pest Control
In some cases, it can also be advised that you seek professional pest control services in order to keep pests at bay. It is a surefire way of getting rid of unwanted insects and rodents. Before you avail of professional pest control make sure that you’re fully aware of the services that they will be providing to your garden.
Seek the Help of Other Insects
Whilst most of the common pests that we encounter are insects, there are a couple of insects that are beneficial enough to prevent the more troublesome pets from taking a bite of your beloved garden.
Everyone knows that pollinators are great to encourage plant growth, but ladybugs, lacewings, damsel bugs and minute pirate bugs are your soldiers in protecting your plants themselves. These guys consume the insects we’re not too fond of and help keep their numbers down naturally. There are a number of ways of attracting beneficial bugs to your garden.
Again, with just some planning and a little oversight you can achieve the garden of your dreams and keep nasty pests away from it. It’s not going to be a “walk in the ‘garden’”, but it’s not relatively hard to make sure your garden remains beautiful and pest-free.