Controlling Diseases and Pests in Home Garden
Organic Gardening methods are great for protecting and nurturing your plants without having to resort to environmentally harmful practices
Organic gardening emphasizes the balance between healthy soil, healthy plants and the health of your family and the wider community. Organic gardeners work with natural systems to promote healthy gardens, with the ultimate goal of sustainability without the need for artificial chemicals or additives
Listed below are the main causes of disease and ill health in your garden.
General growth problems
Environmental factors can have profound effects on the overall health of your garden
Water shortages leave plants susceptible to disease and pest attack. Prolonged drought stunts plant growth and can alter the natural cycles of flowering etc.
Frost causes the water inside plant cells to freeze, bursting the cell wall and leaving patches of black-brown dead tissue. Frost damage can be avoided by creating air flow through those parts of the garden most affected as well as erecting temporary hessian barricades to ward off cold air.
Minerals such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium become unavailable to plants in extremely acidic soil and can lead to damaged leaf systems. Iron deficiency leaves plant leaves yellow in color, however seemingly healthy.
Well managed, biologically active, gardens utilizing compost and mulch tend to have only slightly acidic soils which promote healthy plant growth.
Common fungal diseases include potato blight, clubroot, mildews and rusts. Control of fungal diseases is almost exclusively limited to preventing the conditions that cause them. Methods include providing good ventilation, avoiding over watering and planting resistant plant types.
Bacteria are single-celled organisms that cause soft rots, wilts, cankers galls, etc on plants. Treatment is often affected by simple pruning of the damaged area.
Viruses enter plant cells often after being transported via insects and other animals. Many viruses cause little damage to plants, normally restricted to minor leaf damage.
Pests are living organisms that cause damage to plants and soils in your garden. Most organisms in the garden are not defined as pests and most can benefit the overall health of your garden. Pests are classified according to where and how they feed on plants.
insects such as aphids and whitefly feed by piercing the epidermis of the plant and sucking up sap. Loss of sap leads to reduced vigor and growth distortions.
Insect larvae such as caterpillars and grubs eat the chunky stem and root pieces of plants. Damage to these systems restricts water and nutrient uptake and leads to restricted growth.
Butterflies, Moths, adult beetles, snails, and slugs are all examples of leaf feeders. Leaf damage reduces the available area for photosynthesis in leaves and also spoils the overall appearance.
Earwigs, weevils, and beetles all feed on flowers in your garden. Birds such as sparrows are also flower eaters.
Caterpillars, flies and some types of beetle grub all feed on growing fruit. Damage is often caused by opening the fruit bodies to bacterial and fungal disease.
Controlling Diseases and Pests
There are a number of sound organic principles gardeners can use to keep diseases, infections, and pests under control in the garden.
Tip: Pests that are attracted to thier host plant via smell can be confused by strong smelling companion PLANTS. For example inter-planting carrots with onions.
General Good Gardening
Many methods of organic control in the garden are simply examples of sound gardening practice.
Carryover of pests and diseases from season to season can be prevented by good garden maintenance. A good compost heap can help kill of disease in older dead plants and methods such as winter digging can expose hibernating pests to predatory birds and ground insects.
Is described as the growth of two or more different species of plant together for the benefit of one or both. For example, many adult insects visit flowers for pollen and nectar and can be effective natural controllers of other unwanted pests.
Using Natural Predators
A fundamental part of maintaining an organic garden is allowing the natural predators that exist in the wider environment to thrive.
Many animals in the garden feed on pests. Ladybirds and their larvae are amongst the hardest workers, helping to control greenfly as well as aphids. Mixing flowering plants with fruit and vegetables encourages predators such as parasitic wasps and hoverflies. It is important to recognize these natural predators and encourage their existence.
Barriers and Deterrents
Barriers around gardens certainly aren’t new and have been in use for centuries. However, the use of barriers, etc to control insects and smaller pests are relatively new.
Simple methods such as hanging shiny silver objects in the sunlight can confuse insects such as aphid which orient their flight patterns by sunlight. Medium mesh netting can also be effective in keeping out smaller birds etc from fruit growing areas of the garden.
Predators that Feed on Garden Pests
- Nematodes: control slugs and vine weevil
- Centipedes: feed on slugs and eggs
- Parasitic wasps: lay eggs in host insects
- Beetles: feed on snail and slug eggs
- Lacewings: predators of aphids and similar insects
- Ladybirds: feed on aphids in both juvenile and adult stage
- Mites: feed on plant-feeding mites
- Hoverflies: feed mainly on aphids
- Praying mantis: feeds on various pests
- Harvestmen: roving ground-based predators similar to spiders
- Spiders: all spiders prey on insects and arthropods
- Lizards: consume insects and pests
- Frogs and Toads: require a pond, feed various insects
Table of Contents
- 1 Controlling Diseases and Pests in Home Garden
- 1.1 General growth problems
- 1.2 Diseases
- 1.3 Controlling Diseases and Pests