In the last article we talked about how to control pests, now we continue to talk about the problem of pest control. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

Enjoy the benefits of companion planting

Companion planting is a common horticultural practice in which different species of plants benefit each other when planted next to each other. Appropriate companion plants can help provide structure or support, provide shade, help enrich the soil or generally provide improved growing conditions. Companion plants can also help attract beneficial insects and repel pests.

Planting in groups can be seen as a way to confuse pests. Monocultures attract pests. A large area of land planted with a single variety crop is sure to attract a large number of pests that like to eat that crop. In smaller areas where several species of plants are planted, pests will find it difficult to gather because their preferred plants are scattered among uninteresting and possibly offensive plants.

There are many flowers and herbs that are known to repel insects. Many plants with naturally strong odors are great for warding off pests and hungry herbivores. For flowers, try planting borage, marigolds, nasturtiums or pansy.

Try planting basil, chives, garlic, mint, or sage as an herbal companion. To maximize the benefits of companion plants, plant several companion plants near the garden plants you want to protect.

raised garden bed

Crop rotation

Crop rotation is a good idea for several reasons. It can help balance soil nutrients, it can actually improve soil quality, and crop rotation is another effective way to confuse pests. If you grow the same crop in the same place year after year, pests and pathogens can accumulate on soil, on leaf debris, and in general areas. You provide that pest with a steady and predictable food supply.

Wait two or even three years between growing the same crop in the same location or the same family members. In the intervening years, plant cover crops of an entirely different family of plants or other crops that may help enrich the soil, such as beans or peas.

This gives the soil time to recover and can actually improve soil fertility. It can also prevent the accumulation of specific pests in the same area for years on end.

Practicing crop rotation on a small garden plot can be very challenging. For example, if you only have a raised bed and you want to plant tomatoes every year, you can at least plant tomatoes in a different corner of the bed every year.

If you have 3 or 4 small raised beds, you can move the crop home in a clockwise direction each year, for example, with a bit of a healthy change.

Attract beneficial insects

Not all insects are pests. Many insects are beneficial to the garden environment. Pollinators help plants grow and reproduce. Predatory insects eat other insects that are harmful to horticultural crops. If your garden has what they want, mainly flowers and other bugs, then beneficial insects will naturally be attracted to your garden.

Ladybugs are voracious predators, feeding on aphids, mites, and other common pests. Lacewings also eat a lot of aphids. Praying mantises will eat almost any insect they can catch, including many pesky pests.

Parasitic wasps are highly diverse, and they find hosts in equally diverse garden pests. None of these beneficial insects are harmful to humans, but all are extremely valuable in controlling pest populations.

Learn what these beneficial insects look like so you can welcome them to your garden. Many beneficial insects are attracted to flowers, such as coriander, dogwood, dill, golden chrysanthemum, parsley, pansies, and yarrow. Once you have helpful bugs and know what they look like, protect them as good garden friends and, of course, don't spray insecticides on them.

Invite a bird

Bluebirds eat a large number of insects every day, just like bluebirds, warblers, finches, wrens, and mockingbirds. If you put out a bluebird box in the winter, you'll probably have bluebirds nesting by the time spring rolls around.

But building a bluebird box is just one way to attract birds to your yard. If you put in a bird feeder or bird bath, you can start creating a welcoming environment for all kinds of birds.

raised garden bed

If you want to attract birds, create a bird-friendly yard. Plant shrubs to provide roosting and nesting opportunities. Grow plants that produce fruit, berries and seeds that attract birds. Use a variety of different plants, including vines, evergreens, and, of course, plenty of native species to provide the widest range of habitats and food sources for your insectivorous feathered friends.

Use floating row covers

If you've never tried floating line coverage, this can be a very convenient and effective way to deter pests. Floating row mulch is a very lightweight fabric material that is placed over a plant in parts or throughout the growing season. Floating row mulches can be used in early spring and late fall to extend the growing season, but they also provide a physical barrier to deter pests.

Floating row covers may be most effective for a variety of leafy greens, as they do not require pollination. They prevent cabbage worm caterpillars and cabbage ringworms from invading cruciferous vegetables.

A flowing row lid protects against flea beetles on vegetables, potatoes and aubergines. They also prevent infestation of early cucumbers and pumpkins, but the row covers must be removed during flowering so that these plants can be pollinated.

Do not compost infected plants

Whenever you have a severe insect infestation or a severely diseased plant, the best course of action is to destroy the diseased plant material. Most people don't get a hot enough compost pile to really sterilize their compost, and any residual pests or diseases can be transferred back later!

Don't put pests and diseases into the compost, leave it in the garden, or try to put it into the soil; You'll just leave the pet with the pathogen longer. Healthy compost is made from healthy plant material (no pests or eggs, no disease fodder, no weed seeds).

If you've tried to get rid of pests but the problem is getting worse, it's time to get rid of them from your garden. You can remove severely infected stems, leaves, or whole plants and dispose of them in a plastic bag.

After handling infected plant material, be sure to wash your hands and tools so you don't accidentally spread bugs or their eggs to other healthy plants.

Learning correct recognition

Do you want to know the difference between a good bug and a bad bug? Learn to recognize adults and larvae of common pests and beneficial insects. Adult ladybugs are very familiar and easily recognized.

But can you determine the larval stages of ladybugs in your area? Both ladybug adults and ladybug larvae are hungry predators that feed on aphids and other pests, and both should be welcomed in the garden. As a novice gardener, I removed many ladybug larvae, thinking they were pests, before realizing they were actually very beneficial!

Learn to recognize the different life stages of ladybugs, lacewings, praying mantises and parasitic wasps. Learn to identify some of the most common pest species, such as Japanese beetles, aphids, thrips, cucumber beetles, and flea beetles.raised garden bed

Also, be fully aware that if you grow herbs like parsley, dill, and fennel, the caterpillars that feed on these plants come from the beautiful swallowtail butterfly. If you want to attract butterflies, you have to feed their caterpillars. Expect to lose some plants, but gain some beautiful winged insects!

Try diatomaceous earth

If you're struggling with a pest and desperately want to kill it, buy a bag of diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a white powdery substance that is non-toxic to people and plants, but harmful to soft-bodied insects. Diatomaceous earth is a completely natural product. It is the fossilized remains of tiny diatoms and can act as an effective insect deterrent for organic gardeners.

You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the soil around the plant, or directly on the leaves and stems. Just be aware that while it won't harm most beneficial winged insects or earthworms, it's also not as effective when wet; The water saturates the fine diatom shell particles and softens them.

Final thought

There are many ways to create a healthy garden environment without using any toxic chemicals. Physical barriers can be a good option to keep pests out, but it's not always a practical option. Creating healthy soil, providing ideal growing conditions, and planting a variety of plants can go a long way toward preventing insect outbreaks.

You can also work to attract beneficial insects and insectivorous birds. Anything you can do to encourage strong and resilient plants will be beneficial and help create a vibrant and vibrant garden.

June 26, 2023

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