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You can still keep your vegetables free of pests

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By : Irwin Brewington    99 or more times read
Every year, you can potentially lose much of your garden to pests. With the right pest control methods and the right production techniques, your losses could be reduced significantly. Plants that receive poor care are much more susceptible to pest problems than plants that get the proper fertilizers, water, and cultivation. One veteran horticulturist claims that the best first step lies in purchasing tougher kinds of plants that have resistance to the most number of pests possible.

Not too many varieties of plants resist insects well, although a number of them have more success in outlasting the typical diseases found in gardens. One way to prevent pests is to only grow plants from newly purchased seeds, don't save old seeds to be re-used in a new garden. This is where a lot of seed based diseases will come from. You can find many seed dealers that have a good reputation for selling high quality and pest free seeds, and each year you should try and get some seeds from them. Strong and healthy seedlings are what you need to be planting if you are going to transplant. If you attempt to transplant something that is old or weak, it is unlikely to survive the shock that ensues or may be likely to get pests.

It's also important to rotate the vegetables and plant each type in a different location in the garden each year, as this helps to eliminate diseases that are carried in the soil. This can be achieved best by rotating your corn with any other crops you have. There is usually a pattern that you follow with crop rotation which goes in four year cycles, starting with corn and then following this with cole crops such as greens and cabbage, next you plant solanaceous plants like tomatoes and peppers, and then lastly you plant legumes like peas, then start again with corn.

Keeping your garden free of weeds and volunteer plants and removing any dead plants or plant debris also reduces the risks of disease or other pests. There are a lot of pests that will thrive on the residues left behind by vegetable matter, so don't use this for mulching. Straw, leaves, and other non garden materials are great choices of things to mulch with. Mulch can, however, have its own drawbacks. Many insects love to hide and live in mulch, they could attack your plants before you even know that they're there.

Aside from keeping pests at bay, keeping your garden clean will help to reduce the chance for plant viruses to spread. Before you do any handling of your plants like transplanting or close cultivation, you need to be sure to keep all tools and hands washed clean with soap and water. This is especially important if you're a smoker, because some quite deadly plant viruses actually originate in tobacco.

Garden pests could also easily be hiding in weeds. Your garden zone should be entirely clear of weeds in any part of it, because some types of weeds can actually attract pests to them. In addition to causing damage to plants, insects like the aphids, leafhoppers, beetles, mites, and nematodes can often live in weeds and transplant diseases to your plants. It's crucial to maintain a weed-free area around your garden, especially if the area is home to any Johnson grass. Johnson grass is notorious for harboring insects, so get rid of it.

Controlling the level of moisture is also a critical element in maintaining a garden which is pest free. If you want to keep disease to a minimum, water early in the day. If you water early in the morning, you might be able to avoid using powerful fungicides. Watering at night is especially harmful because the plants remain moist longer, this can create a fungus invasion especially since fungus flourishes in warm, wet places.

Adding a shield or some type of pest-proof barrier around your transplants can help keep them safe from some insects. There are many different household materials you can use for this like milk jugs, cardboard or even extra shingles which you can put a few inches into the earth to protect the plant. This kind of wall can keep your peppers and tomatoes safe from grubs, cutworms, wire worms, and other types of creatures which live underground. You may also consider making use of predator insect so that it will eat harmful pests, but this doesn't mean catching or buying an insect to introduce to your garden. However, you are certainly able to allow any of these predators that are already in your garden to stay, some of the helpful ones are praying mantis, ladybugs, ground beetles, and spiders.

If all the natural, chemical-free methods of pest control fail, and pests invade and threaten the crop, then and only then should pesticides be considered as an emergency measure. If you choose to use a pesticide carefully read the instructions on the container. When a label advises you to wait for a certain amount of time between treatments, you should follow this strictly, or else you may damage your garden.

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