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Pests in the garden can cause so much heartache, disappointment, and frustration. When you are trying to grow your organic veggies and aren’t really into pesticides or electric fences, what else is there to do to deter those ravenous bugs, deer, and rabbits from your garden?
Well, aside from learning to share (which is fair) or growing so much veg that you can afford to lose some to other critters, there are a few steps you can take to help protect your veggie gardens and ensure that you at least get a look in!
Check out these simple ideas that you can do with little to no cost that will protect your plants and give you some peace of mind.
1. Intercropping to Confuse Pest
One way to help deter pests is to create as much of a polyculture as you can. Intercropping your veggies with various herbs such as cilantro, garlic, and basil can help to confuse and deter bugs.
Lots of visual shapes, textures, and smelly plants can interfere with a bug’s laser focus on one type of plant. Be sure to consult a companion planting guide to make sure that you are creating even more of an issue.
2. Plant Pest-Resistant Varieties
If you know that your area or garden is prone to a certain type of pest, spend a little time when it comes to seed shopping to look for varieties that are a little hardier and can withstand infestations.
There are also several herbs that rabbits and deer tend to stay clear of.
3. Put Up Barriers
Source: Kitchen Garden Magazine/YouTube
One way to keep pests from your plants is to physically prevent them from getting to them. This is harder than it sounds. Many pests such as birds and insects can fly over the fences you put up, deer can jump them, and rabbits and voles can burrow under them.
You need a barrier that is much more localized around the plants that seem to be suffering the most. Using mesh is a really good option for protecting rows of plants.
You can lay this directly onto sturdy plants or create little Support from simple sticks to hold the mesh above the plant.
4. Attract Beneficial Bugs
Though aphids, hornworms, and Japanese beetles can be devastating to crops, there are a whole other bunch of bugs that are a gardener’s best friend.
Parasitic wasps, ladybirds, praying mantes, and lacewings all feed, in various ways, on the more destructive insects in your garden. Though this is not fun for the aphids, having a range of insects in your garden means a healthy and balanced ecosystem.
Attract beneficial insects by planting yarrow, echinacea, dill, parsley, and many others.
Note that having a few insect pests in your garden is perfectly normal. If they weren’t there, there wouldn’t be any food for all the other bugs that you love to see.
5. Consider Container Gardening
If you are tired of voles and groundhogs munching on your root veggies before you get the chance, then consider growing these crops in large containers.
Containers will not, of course, protect your crops from other known pests, but they will at least keep them safe from burrowing animals that are causing your potatoes serious issues!
6. Promote Healthy Soil and Great Growing Conditions
Healthy soil means healthy plants and healthy plants are going to be much stronger and able to hold their own during a pest outbreak.
Do a little reading about your plant’s preferred growing conditions and try your best to give it the best you can. This will include everything from soil, lighting, and water preferences.
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