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Effective Prevention Which is Chemical Free for Vegetable Garden Pest Cotrol

Before you reach for the insecticide sprayer to attack pests in your vegetable garden, try some of the lower-impact methods to reduce problems from harmful insects and diseases without risk on health on vegetables exposed to chemicals.

The presence of pests in the vegetable patch is often due to simple cultivation errors. Making use of a few tricks of the trade during selection and planting will help you to keep your vegetables healthy and save you the trouble of subsequent pest control.

If an insect or disease does get out of hand, treat it effectively without disrupting the other life in your garden, which includes everything from good bugs to birds. Control measures may be as simple as handpicking and squashing snails, or knocking off aphids with a strong jet of water from a hose.

Plants to help one another

Companion planting makes the most of the beneficial effects that plants can have on each other and on pests. Aromatic compounds in roots, leaves and flowers or secretions from parts of some plants can act as effective deterrents to many common pests.

As well as protecting against pests, companion planting results in fewer weeds as deep-rooting plants grow alongside shallow-rooting plants, compact plants with broad leaves alongside thin-leafed plants. This means there is less room for weeds to take hold.

Growing carrots with leeks, garlic or onions is a tried and tested combination, with the companions protecting each other in turn against carrot fly and onion fly.

When planted between strawberries and vegetables, onions and garlic also help to protect against fungal infections. Strong-smelling winter savory protects dwarf beans against blackfly, whereas nasturtiums help to protect tomatoes and fruit trees from greenfly and the woolly apple aphid.

When planted among vegetables, secretions from the roots of pot marigolds (Calendula officinalis) and French marigolds (Tagetes patula) help to deter eelworms.

Planting celery between cabbage plants drives away cabbage white butterflies, so that they look elsewhere for a place to lay their eggs. And the aromatic leaves of sage also deter cabbage white butterfly as well as being offputting to snails and ants.

Often, a pest problem in a garden can be averted before it actually becomes a problem.

  • Plant your vegetables in the proper locations. Many pests become more troublesome when plants are grown in conditions that are less than ideal. For example, if you grow sun-loving vegetables in the shade, mildew problems are often more severe.

  • Choose resistant plants. If you know that a certain disease is common in your area, choose plants that aren't susceptible to that disease or that resist infection. Some vegetable varieties are resistant to specific diseases. For example, some tomato varieties resist verticillium, fusarium, and nematodes.

  • Know the enemy. The more you know about specific pests and diseases common to your area when they occur and how they spread the more easily you can avoid them. For example, some diseases run rampant on wet foliage. If you know that fact, you can reduce the occurrence of these diseases simply by adjusting your watering so you don't wet the plants' leaves or by watering early in the day so the plants dry out quickly.

  • Keep your plants healthy. Healthy plants are less likely to have problems. Water and fertilize regularly so your plants grow strong and more pest resistant.

  • Keep your garden clean. By cleaning up spent plants, weeds, and other garden debris, you eliminate hiding places for many pests and diseases.

  • Encourage and use beneficial insects. Beneficial insects are the good bugs in your garden the insects that feed on the bugs that bother your vegetables. You probably have a bunch of different kinds of beneficial insects in your garden already, but you also can purchase them to release in your garden. In addition, you can plant flowers that attract these insects.

  • Rotate your plants each year. Avoid planting the same plants in the same location year after year, especially if you grow vegetables in raised beds (any planting area that's raised above the surrounding ground level). Rotation prevents pests and diseases that are specific to certain plants from building up in your garden

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Published by Graeme Stephens owner of Pest Control Auckland and has proudly been providing the following professional services since 1987: pest control, fly control, flea control, insect, cockroach, wasp, bee, flies, fleas, bed bug control, ant control

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