Diseases and insects cause gardeners a lot of grief. Below are some basic cultural practices to help avoid and control pests.
- Select the best site. Choose a site with deep, well drained soil.
- Plant on raised beds. Raised beds improve drainage. They also warm up faster than level soil which aids in faster emergence. Slow emergence increases chances of seedling disease.
- Use proper plant spacing. Crowded plants reduce air circulation which enhances leaf spot diseases. Septoria leaf spot on tomato is just one example.
- Overplant. Overplanting where possible will ensure enough production if some plants or vegetables are lost to disease.
- Proper fertilization. Plants receiving all needed nutrients may resist some of the less vigorous disease causing organisms.
- Do not overwater. Excessively wet conditions increase soil-borne fungal diseases like root rots and wilts.
- Avoid overhead irrigation. Leaf spot diseases develop rapidly when leaves are moist.
- Interplant flowers and vegetables. Harmful insects usually prefer environments where only one type of plant is present. The beneficial insects that feed on insect pests, thrive on diversity.
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