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Vegetable Gardening - Dealing With Pests

Jul 24, 2008
Everyone loves fresh, home grown vegetables, including pests! These greedy little creatures often terrorize your garden in more ways than one, attacking not only the vegetables, but the leaves and roots as well, taking away the plants reproductive powers.

In order to protect your crop from predators such as mice, rabbits, deer, and insects, ongoing care is required. Oftentimes the best way to ensure complete protection is by employing several different methods.

Starting off on the right foot makes pest control easier; therefore it is a good idea to properly prepare the soil before planting, keeping it slightly acidic (around pH 6.5). Fertilizing the soil helps plants to grow well, enabling them to better fight off pests. It is also necessary to select a plant that is free of pests, and keep a regular watering schedule.

In recent years genetic modification programs have been used to produce seeds that are pest resistant; these are often the best seeds to work with. If you decide to transplant, make sure and select plants that are in good health.

Plants are always covered in different organisms; some are harmful, and some are helpful. Learning to tell the difference is of the utmost importance. Helpful ones not only aid in enriching the soil, they also sometimes consume harmful insects, resulting in vegetables that are large, healthy and beautiful.

Some of the most common helpful insects include assassin bugs, which eat a number of harmful predators, including Japanese beetles and aphids. Ladybugs, as well, feed on aphids and also take care of spider mites, while stink bugs eat potato beetles and other pests.

The threat of fungus can be kept at bay by watering in the morning. Why? At night, when temperatures drop and dew forms on the leaves, excess moisture can spawn the growth of harmful organisms. So, by watering early, you leave plenty of time for the plant to soak up the water during the day. Disease free plants are in a better position to fight off pests, so it is important that you keep your plants healthy and strong.

Another way to help prevent the growth of pests in your garden is by alternating plant species. When similar plants are grouped together, the pests that feed on them are also grouped together, which can result in a pest population explosion. This makes it more difficult to control the pests, and often results in the devastation of entire crops.

Remove any part or plant that has been attacked in order to prevent spreading. Just as with animals and humans, pests spread in part by contact. This isn't necessary at the first sign of a problem, but when it reaches the level where you can't save the plant, it's best to save the others.

Larger animals such as rabbits and deer are deterred from attacking gardens by a good strong fence. Don't forget to run a tightly woven mesh at the bottom to block out smaller vermin.

But when those efforts are not enough, don't be afraid to use an approved commercial insecticide. Chemistry has come a long way in the past 50 years and they're designed to eradicate insect infestations while still being safe for humans to contact and eat the vegetables.
About the Author
Are you planning on doing some vegetable gardening this year? Before planting a single vegetable, take some time to plan. Find out more about how to grow a successful garden on the Vegetable Gardeners website at http://www.vegetablegardeners.com
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