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Six Easy Ways to Prevent Pests

Six Easy Ways to Prevent Pests and Other Garden Problems

How do you manage pests and diseases that are the bane of every gardener? Avoid insecticides, opting instead to attack pests with some of these lower-impact methods and avert the problem before it actually becomes a serious threat.

Location, location, location: Pests can become more troublesome if your vegetables are grown in conditions that aren’t ideal. If you plant sun-loving vegetables in shade, for example, the result could be severe mildew problems.

Plant Choices: Find out which diseases are common in your area and choose plants that are infection resistant.

Know the enemy: The more you know about specific pests and diseases common to your area — when and how they spread — the easier it is to avoid them. For example, some diseases can run wild on wet leaves. The problem can be avoided by keeping water off the plants’ leaves or by watering them early in the day so they dry out quickly.

Keep your plants healthy: Healthy plants are less likely to have problems, so water and fertilize regularly to keep them strong and more pest resistant. Other healthy habits include keeping your garden clean and free of debris, eliminating hiding places for pests and diseases.

Encourage beneficial insects: There are good bugs in your garden that feed on the pests that cause problems for your vegetables. You probably have many beneficial insects in your garden already but you can also plant flowers to attract them. Watch out for slugs that slither in at night and eat the leaves and fruit of many plants. Rather than letting them take over your garden, take action with slug lures and traps as well as natural predators to get rid of them. Avoid chemical slug-killers because they can have negative effects on your garden, the environment and your pets.

Rotate your plants each year: Avoid planting the same plants in the same location year after year, especially if you are using raised beds. Rotation prevents pests and diseases that are specific to certain plants from building up in your garden.

If an insect or disease does get out of hand, treat it effectively with simple measures such as handpicking and squashing snails, or knocking off aphids with a blast of water from a hose.

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