Written by Anza Goodbar (last updated February 17, 2012)
Growing a garden can be fun and the harvest well worth the effort; however, if you don't take time to prevent insects and pests from invading the area, your work could all be devoured by unseen pests. Take as many preventative measures as possible to reduce the amount of work during the growing season to keep pests out of the garden.
One of the easiest ways to keep pests to a minimum is to reduce the amount of nitrogen in the fertilizer used in the garden. Nitrogen helps promote soft leafy growth in plants. This type of growth is particularly appetizing to garden pests.
Create physical barriers to pests. Consider using cages for fruits to keep out small animals or birds. A net over the cage will provide a further deterrent and protect the plants from being devoured. This is especially helpful for fruit trees. If the plants can be elevated, this can also be a great deterrent from wildlife.
Do research. Know what types of pests are apt to devour your crops and create a defense specifically for them. Make your plan specific for the types of pests you are aiming to eliminate. Act quickly at the first sign of a problem. Putting off action can cause the problem to get out of hand.
Keep your garden clean. Weed it regularly. Remove any refuse from pruning or grooming plants. Any area that allows moisture to grow can cause disease or pest infestations. Practice good watering methods. Prevent the plants from becoming stressed which may make them more vulnerable to pests.
Encourage natural predators like ladybirds and lacewings. They will naturally devour a colony of aphids and prevent them from taking over a garden.
Rabbits can be difficult to keep out of a garden, there are repellents on the market that will assist with this, however, they are not always effective depending on the size of the rabbit population. Fencing made of chicken wire can help, but it should be at least three feet high and buried at least a foot to prevent jumping over or tunneling under. Sonic devices, while pricey, can be the best defense.
As a last resort, chemicals can be sprayed on the plants to get rid of unwanted pests. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instruction to the letter. Do not spray near a pond or ground water. Only spray on a calm day with little to no wind to control the direction of the spraying.
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