Even the most well-managed gardens face an increase in pest activity in the summer months, with the onset of warmer weather and conditions that encourage the growth of weeds and insects.
Many varieties of garden plants and flowers come to life during the summer season, while this is also the time when garden pests and critters are typically more active. To prevent pests from wreaking havoc on your garden, read on for some useful and natural pest control methods to protect your plants.
First of all, bear in mind that a healthy garden with strong growth begins with the soil, and having diverse species of plants will also promote better defense against pests and diseases.
Build a Strong Garden with Healthy Soil
Healthy plant growth begins with healthy soil, which is the foundation of a strong garden ecosystem. Use natural fertilizers to promote better soil quality and activate soil microbes.
Consider mulching to prevent weed growth, which can become a breeding ground for insects. Adding mulch around your plants also encourages better soil health and the growth of favorable microorganisms.
Interplant Your Crops
Interplanting is the practice of alternating specific crops, veggies, and flowers to disrupt pest life cycles. Instead of having just one type of crop, plant alternating rows of vegetables with beneficial herbs and flowers to fend off insects and critters.
Moving plants around your garden strategically makes it harder for pests to find your crops and to thrive, preventing large-scale infestations.
Attract Natural Predators
Keep pests in check by attracting natural predators such as ladybugs, birds, and praying mantises to your garden. Consider planting popular flower varieties such as calendula, lavender, borage, and sunflower to encourage the presence of beneficial insects that also prey on pests.
Good Water Management
Giving your plants too much love in the form of overwatering can actually be detrimental to their health. Avoid watering too often as moist soil and standing water can encourage the growth of pests like mosquitoes and gnats.
To discourage pests from settling in, ensure your soil and plant surfaces are completely dry before watering them again, and use irrigation systems to target the roots instead of pouring on leaves or foliage.
Repel Pests with Strong Scents
Planting flowers and herbs with strong scents near your vegetables can be useful in repelling garden pests. This is an easy and effective way to support your pest control efforts. Some strong-scented flowers and herbs include calendula, coriander, garlic, chives, and thyme.
Manage Your Compost
Be mindful of what you put in your compost and soil, as certain food scraps and waste can also attract pests. Use good quality nutrient-dense compost and turn it regularly to accelerate decomposition and deter the growth of pests.
Consider using cover systems and netting to block pests and animals from reaching your plants, which can also be particularly effective in protecting your garden from insects.
Mesh or row covers are also good barriers to stop pests from damaging your crops. Secure the cover around the edges of your garden to prevent both insects and crawling critters like aphids, gnats or squash bugs from entering.