Garden Pests Devouring Your Growing Plants
Garden pests can devour the growing plants in your garden. Some of these pests will eat everything, even the roots in the soil. There are preventative measures you can take, to review your options and stop these pests from eating all your hard work.
If you have squirrels and birds feeding on your garden produce, then you can place feeders away from the garden, somewhere else in your yard, high up on trees, for them to feed to their heart’s content. You may even place a bird bath underneath the trees, to make the areas near the feeders as hospitable as possible, to keep them away from your garden.
Placing mulch on the soil surrounding growing vegetable plants will help prevent snails, slugs and even rodents from reaching the plants in your garden. Taking these measures will help prevent garden pests overtaking your garden.
Keeping Pests Out Of Your Home And Garden
Nothing can ruin a perfectly good garden like garden pests. All the time and energy and money you spend to make your back yard or front yard look exactly how you want, only to be destroyed, diseased or eaten by garden pests. But all garden pests can eventually be controlled once you know which garden pests you are up against.
One of the worst garden pests is chipmunks and squirrels. They eat all sorts of bulbs and seeds and particularly like newly planted seedlings. To get rid of these garden pests, we recommend a light pepper spray on the affected plants. Another option is a constant scare tactic, whether it’s a light or noise, these garden pests are easily scared away.
Getting Rid Of Aphids In Your Garden
Aphids are one of the worst garden pests out there. They attach themselves to virtually any plant and suck out the sap – which is like the blood of any plant or tree. Aphids have many natural predators – in fact, many farmers will raise ladybugs specifically to help control aphid populations in their gardens. For those of you without ladybugs, try ammonia on the affected plants; that should get rid of those garden pests.
Perhaps one of the easiest garden pests to deal with are slugs. Slugs feed on any number of plants, but they aren’t the fastest movers out there. Slugs are best to be prevented. A protective border of salt, lime, ashes or mulch around your garden beds should be plenty to keep these garden pests away from your plants and vegetables.
Dealing With Rodents
Perhaps the worst garden pests are the rodents: rats, mice, and voles. These rodents are quite numerous and comfortable living near humans are small, quick and can eat pretty much any plant, flower or vegetable in your garden. How do you deal with these garden pests?
The key is to limit the places of shelter. Make sure your house is completely sealed up. Stuff steel wool into cracks before covering them. Trapping rodents is a full boom industry, and there are many traps both humane and lethal that can help you get rid of these garden pests.
Preventing Pests In Your Garden
For the amount of money and time, energy and effort that you spend in your garden, you deserve a garden that is free of garden pests. Unfortunately, garden pests are one of the unavoidable evils of gardening and nothing can be done to make your garden completely void of garden pests.
The best you can do is take some preventative measures and address garden pests as quickly as they are identified. But a garden free of garden pests is completely worth the added cost and effort.
Bird Feeders And Squirrel Feeders Can Help Too
Apart from using these preventative measures, there are other measures you can take to keep pests away from your garden. For example, if you have birds or squirrels feeding in your garden, you can place bird feeders and squirrel feeders in other areas of your yard, away from your garden.
They will eat so much food from these feeders, they will not have much appetite to eat more food in the garden. Keeping an eye on the feeders, to make sure the feeders are always full of food will ensure these pests stay away from the garden.
Placing Mulch Covering Soil Around Growing Plants
Another option is to cover your soil around the plants with mulch. Mulch helps to keep weeds out of your garden, but it also prevents many pests like slugs and snails reaching your growing vegetable and flowering plants in your garden.
Placing one or two statues, like garden gnomes, inside the garden is another option, as a deterrent to pests munching on your plants. As you can see, there are many ways to keep pests out of your garden, so that you are rewarded with products for your effort.
Garden Pest Control
Garden pest control was the final step of our new garden. We use the garden fence and mesh tents to protect our new plants from predation and a cold frame to keep them warm.
Once garden preparation was complete and our raised beds and pathways were laid out, we put up our fence. In our area, we have a rabbit population that even our coyotes can’t control. We have big blacktail jackrabbits and western cottontails everywhere. These rabbits LOVE a garden and can destroy one overnight.
On top of these furry critters, we also have the occasional javelina, deer, and seasonal grasshoppers looking for an easy lunch.
To support our fence, we use heavy steel T- stakes. If you purchase them, you’ll find that quality and strength will vary. For a small backyard garden, a lightweight post will do nicely. For longer runs of fencing, a more substantial T-post will work better. We wanted enough strength to be able to tighten the chicken wire fence and not have to do special bracing on the corners.
For the fencing, we used 4’ galvanized poultry net aka chicken wire. While special fasteners are available for attaching the fencing, we used soft “stovepipe” or utility wire to fasten the fence to the posts.
Note: Bury about 4” to 6” of the fence under the surface to prevent burrowing animals from accessing the garden by going under. This has proven satisfactory for all but pocket gophers. We used the rocks we screened out of the garden soil, banked against the outside base of the fence, to further discourage diggers.
Protection from birds
While our perimeter fence provides protection from rabbits, our birds, especially quail, love to munch on our garden plants.
So, we planned our beds for a screened pest control box that covered the bed. We built box frames approximately 5’x 3’x 2’.
The frame was made from ripped 2”x4” dimension lumber and covered with poultry netting/chicken wire. Each box will require about 2 ½ – 2’x4’x8’ boards ripped in two parts. This provides portable and effective protection from birds. When the plants became large enough to tolerate being munched by the birds, the boxes are removed.
Small Plant Pest Control…
For early protection of our young plants, we have built long triangular tents for the rows constructed from 1/4 inch hardware cloth.
As our tender young plants grow too large for these, we place the larger rectangular frames over them.
For pest control in your area, check your copy of The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch for crop specific problems and solutions. Your local county extension agent or a local Master Gardener will generally prove to be a valuable and regionally savvy source of information. This link will take you to the American Horticultural Society’s site with a list of Master Gardeners by state.
Protection from the cold
Although we live in the Arizona desert, we still have to protect our plants from the cold. In the last couple of years, we have had many nights with low temperatures well below freezing.
For our winter greens –
kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, escarole – we have constructed a removable portable hoop house with 6 mil plastic. This is a bed-sized mini-greenhouse that we use in extreme cold – extreme for Arizona, that is. By draping bird netting over the hoops, we have yet another level of garden pest control.
For mild frost protection, row cover spread over the bed and weighted on the edges works great.
To stretch our growing season, a cold frame a real asset. This is a durable and solid mini-greenhouse that we use to get an early start on tomatoes, peppers, cabbages, eggplant as well as some kitchen herbs and flowers.
By protecting your garden from damage, whether from birds, rodents, bugs, or frost, you can enjoy wholesome and healthy food from a healthy and happy garden. So, we urge you to practice good garden pest control and we wish you…
Table of Contents
- 0.1 Garden Pests Devouring Your Growing Plants
- 1 Garden Pest Control