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Consider Other Options Before Using Pesticides in Your Vegetable Garden

BY: MANKEY SHANKEY | Category: Health | Submitted: 2010-05-24 02:23:10
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Article Summary: "With proper pest control practices and effective garden maintenance, home gardeners and farmers can cut the losses experienced each year due to garden pests. When your plants are correctly cultivated, watered and fertilized, they fare much better against pests than unhealthy plants..."


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If people practice the proper production methods as well as pest control practices, the loss that pests cause each year can be drastically reduced. When your plants are correctly cultivated, watered and fertilized, they fare much better against pests than unhealthy plants. One experienced horticulturist says that you should purchase many different plants that are known to be resistant to pests.

There are many plants that are resistant to disease, but it is much harder to find insect resistant ones. Do not save your own seed to use in your next garden if you have grown your current plants from seed. Most diseases will take root in the seeds. Buy your seeds instead from reputable dealers that sell high-quality seeds that are free of diseases. If you buy transplants, make sure that they are strong and healthy. More vulnerable for certain types of pests, plants which are spindly, too old or too young, or weak will likely not survive the shock of being transplanted.

An effective and affordable method for controlling a number of soil borne diseases lies in rotating your vegetables around the garden annually. Alternating corn with other crops is a good system. A good plan is a four-year schedule of rotation: grow corn in a location one year, then grow cole crops (greens, cabbage, broccoli) the second year, solanaceous crops (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes) the third year, legumes (peas, beans) the fourth year, then start over with corn again.

Samples of smart sanitation to be utilized for good pest control include making sure that the garden is free of infested crop debris, cull piles, and volunteer plants. It is not a good practice to save plant residues for mulching as many pests are able to survive in the residue. You ought to mulch using leaves, straw, or even other materials which are not for gardens. Mulch, however, has a major drawback of its own that should be considered if you are attempting to reduce or eliminate garden pests. Permitting them to get to your plants as you can not first spot them, mulch offers shelter and disguise to a variety of insects.

In cutting back on the spreading of various plant viruses, sanitation is furthermore critical. You should always wash your hands and your tools with soap and water before you handle any transplant seedlings or do any close cultivation. Tobacco is notorious for housing plant viruses, including the tobacco mosaic. If you are harvesting tobacco, extra care should be taken to avoid this.

Weeds can also carry and attract garden pests. It's best to keep your garden and an area around your garden free of weeds. Besides creating other damages to plants, leafhoppers, beetles, mites, nematodes, aphids, and other insects typically live in weeds and transmit their plant diseases. 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.

Another way to control garden pests is through the control of water. Water early in the day to help prevent diseases from setting in. You will probably be able to avoid using a fungicide if you water at the proper time of day. 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.

Creating a barrier or a shield around any transplanted items will assist in preventing some of the insects from attacking them. You might place a shield a few inches into the ground, or you could employ shingles, plastic from a milk container, or cardboard. Keeping peppers or tomatoes from cutworms, grubs, wire worms, and other forms of insects that attack from underneath the surface is easier if you utilize this type of barrier to protect your transplants. You can effectively use biological methods like predatory insects, though it's usually not advisable to artificially introduce these insects. 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.

Pesticides are the last option you should go to if you are having a hard time removing a pest population from your garden by non-chemical means. You must obey the directions contained on the label precisely. When the directions tell you to wait a period of time before you respray your garden again, then you need to make sure to wait this time, because if you overdo it you can damage your plants.

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