Identifying & Eliminating Garden Pests

Vegetable gardens or flower gardens are bound to be affected by pests. You will need to be careful about using chemical pesticides since these are edible plants you are dealing with.

Few tips which can be employed to reduce the onset of pest are

1. Avoid cramping plants

Don’t cramp the plants together. Allow for a good spacing between each plant, this will allow for good air circulation which will keep the pests at bay.

2. Buy disease resistant variety

Buy seeds or transplants of disease resistant variety. Modern day research has allowed for several hybrid plants which are completely resistant to most of the common infections.

3. Maintain plant hygiene

Maintain proper garden hygiene. It is important to clear the debris from your garden. Rotting leaves and branches are open invitation for pest infestation.

Clip of dead leaves, dry branches and any useless appendages from the plants

If any part of the plant is infected by fungi, you should either uproot the plant or clip off that portion completely, to avoid further infection among neighboring plants.

4. Use pesticides with caution

Avoid the use of pesticides as much as possible on vegetable plants. It should be the last resort.

Eliminating pests without pesticides

Drown them, don’t squish them

The common ways of dealing with pests would be to hand pick them off the plants and drown them in soapy water. Squishing them would and dropping them on the soil would lead to further pest infection.

Use the hose

You can use a strong jet from your hose to displace these bugs from the plants.

Catch them sleeping

Take a early morning stroll through your garden while the sun is rising. You will be able to find these bugs sleeping on your plants, this is the best time to kill them.

Identifying common pests

The common pests which can infest your vegetable garden are mentioned below

Aphids :

These tiny bugs can suck the life out of your plants. The common symptoms would be stunted or distorted growth, and diseased plants.

The most common targets are

  • Cabbages
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts

Kill them by hand picking these bugs and drowning them in soapy water or use your hose to rid them from your plants.

Beetles :

There are several types of beetles not all of them are harmful. As a vegetable gardener you need to watch out for the cucumber beetles and little flea beetles.

The plants most affected by beetles are

  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Melons

You could consider covering these plants which a porous, transparent material, if you are facing a massive infestation.

Beetles can be hand picked off the plants and drowned in soapy water.

Cutworms :

These larvae eat up the sown seeds in the soil.

Common plants affected are

  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Tomato
  • Cabbage

Mulch around your seeds with a height of at least 2 inches. Cutworms don’t climb up barriers.

Leafhoppers :

They insects can eat up the foliage of your leafy plants.

Plants commonly attacked by these insects are

  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes

The best protection is to build a protective fencing around these plants; aluminum foil can be put to good use here.

Root maggots :

They look like little flies and they eat up the plant tissues.

Common plants affected are

  • Onion
  • Radish
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

The best protection is to add a small layer of ash at the base of your plant.

Snails & slugs :

These pests can nibble through the best of plants and destroy them. They thrive in damp environments and are active at night.

The worst part is that no plant is safe from infestation of these pests.

The best protection you can provide is mulch, especially make of sharp objects like hardened algae. Slugs and snails are soft skinned and they cannot cross this barrier.

You can place a flat sauce pan of cheap beer next to certain plants. Slugs are attracted to beer and they drown in the bowl.

There a little pelts available called “sluggo”, you can spread them around the plant which are most infested. This is a chemical cure and you should be careful using it.