When you first plant a garden, you may be anticipating the delicious fresh vegetables or beautiful flowers that you hope to enjoy. What you might not expect is the number of other creatures who also want to devour your garden's contents, including beetles, caterpillars, deer, neighborhood dogs, rabbits, and many more. Take our advice and implement pest control in your new garden immediately.
If you plan to consume any of the contents of your garden, organic pest control is a must. It's also better for the earth and for your landscape as a whole. As much as possible, choose sprays and solutions that are primarily organic in composition.
Learn Your Allies
Some bugs are absolutely essential to plant procreation and health, and others actually eat the pests attacking your plants. Learn to recognize and support the life cycles of beneficial insects like ladybugs (which eat aphids), praying mantis, lacewings, hoverflies, dragonflies, and honeybees.
Squish the Enemies
Squash bugs tend to attack pumpkins, squash, and any gourd-like vegetables, while cabbageworms will eat your lettuces and cabbage. Japanese beetles and slugs are bad guys as well. If you see an insect on your plants, take a photo and identify it. If it's one of the pests, pluck that insect off with your bare hand or with gloves and squish it.
Removing bugs by hand isn't always enough; but sometimes, if you catch the invasion early, you can use this method to curb the numbers before the pests multiply.
Destroy Infested Plants
Don't put infested plants in your compost pile. Discard them far away, burn them, or destroy them in some other way. As you monitor your garden, be sure to eliminate any fallen fruit, dying plants, dry leaves, or other refuse that might harbor pests. To help prevent pests and plant diseases, you may also consider treating soil with innovative soil pre-treatments, such as Infuse Granules.
Spray and Salt the Garden
You can use a spray bottle to apply solutions such as garlic, mineral oil, or salt to the garden. In moderate amounts, these organic sprays won't hurt the plants, and they'll discourage pests. Re-apply the spray after every rainfall.
Install Fences and Covers
For larger pests like dogs, rabbits, and deer, you can erect fences appropriate to the height of the animals you're dealing with. Squirrels and rabbits may be deterred by lightweight sheets of fabric called "row covers," which protect plants without preventing the passage of light and air. Row covers are also useful in preventing frost damage for young plants. Explore some row cover designs to find the method that works best for your style of garden.
Try a Cutworm Collar
Cutworms are nasty little creatures that gnaw through plant stems during the night. They can destroy your cauliflower, broccoli, corn, and other plants. To keep them at bay, turn index cards into tubes about 2-3 inches across and staple the ends. Sink the tubes an inch into the soil around the necks of the young plants to prevent their decapitation by cutworms.