Insect pests and diseases are a problem that every gardener has to deal with. For those that choose organic control, as opposed to chemical control, this is particularly difficult. It doesn’t have to be, though. With proper planning and maintenance, you can control the unwanted pests and keel the helpful ones around.
The first thing you need to do is care for your plants during the growing season. Keep a watchful eye on them and provide the healthy conditions they need to grow and produce.
Maintaining Healthy Soil In Winter
Maintaining healthy soil is vital to healthy plants. Soil needs plenty of water, but too much can be a breeding ground for disease. So having proper drainage in clay-heavy soil and keeping proper structure for sandy soil is very important. Also, replenishing the nutrients that your plants feed on will help keep soil healthy.
Cleanup is just as important. Fruits or vegetables that lay on the ground over winter can attract mites and harbor insects. Once you clear these away, loosen the soil which will leave any eggs or larvae exposed to birds and the cold weather.
Rotate Your Crops To Minimize Infestation
Rotating your crops will also help minimize any infestation. Many disease-causing organisms tend to overwinter in the soil close to the plant that they feed on. By not growing the same plant in the same area for at least two years, you can significantly reduce insect damage as well as exposure to disease.
Rotating crops is also a great way to keep the nutrients in the soil balanced. Planting light feeders like carrots or beets every third year or so will allow your soil to rest and replenish.
Diversity Your Plants
Diversity is another good way to minimize exposure. Planting in small groups of one plant in various locations throughout your garden will make it difficult for pests to infest the entire lot. Planting plants that seem to repel pests, like marigolds or nasturtiums in between your clusters of vegetables will also help.
Timing and planning will make a difference in your ability to control pests and disease. This will also help encourage the insects that help aerate your soil and those that feed on the unwanted pests.