Preventing Pests Naturally

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Question: How can we prevent pests from ransacking our garden?

Answer: By understanding what makes our gardens and plants attractive to insects and diseases, and how to maintain plant and soil vitality, youngsters learn important lessons about how to work with nature to create a resilient system. The best way to prevent pests from getting out of hand is to promote healthy plants and soil. Here are some tips for doing so.

  • Rotate your crops to different locations from year to year.
  • Apply compost or other organic materials annually to build soil health.
  • Provide adequate spacing for plants within and between rows or beds.
  • Plant resistant varieties.
  • Mulch with organic materials.
  • Clean your garden by removing infected plant and debris.
  • Prune weakened foliage.
  • Provide proper plant nutrition using compost, animal manures, "green" manures, and/or organic fertilizers.
  • Provide consistent moisture for plants.
  • Encourage beneficial insects.

If just a few insect pests show up on plants, youngsters can continue to observe them, or simply pick them off and squish them. Healthy plants and insect pests can co-exist. A few leaf holes don't spell death for a plant. If your keen observers notice pests that seem on the verge of or in the midst of destroying entire crops, they might try knocking them off with a soapy water spray or homemade remedy, trapping them, or introducing beneficial insects.

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