In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
These mustard flowers are not only beautiful to look at, but they bring beneficial wasps on a direct path to the garden where they help eliminate all sorts of pests.
Preventing Pest Problems
It's the height of summer. While we busy enjoying the harvest from our vegetable gardens, there are lots of other creatures eager to share in the bounty. Here are some tips for keeping pests in the garden under control.
Watch the Garden
One of the most indispensable techniques is to simply make the rounds of the garden every morning and observe. This is a time just for looking, not harvesting, planting, or weeding. Make a thorough inspection of plants, hand picking insects and egg clusters before they hatch. Early morning is a good time to handpick insects because many are still sluggish from the cool night. Take the time to learn to recognize bad insects and their egg clusters, while leaving alone beneficial insects -- a good project for those long winter months!
Time Your Planting
Timing can sometimes be a big help in avoiding pest problems. For example, if you start your cucumbers early in peat or paper pots, the larger plants will be more able to fend off problems with cucumber beetles and bacterial wilt.
Cover the Plants
If you're diligent about placing row covers over cole crops such as cabbage and kale, you can avoid problems with cabbageworms. The row covers let in light, air, and water but keep out the adult butterflies and moths. Just be sure to anchor the bottom edges of the row covers well so that pests can't sneak under.
Attract Good Guys
Let plants in the mustard family such as arugula, mustard, radish, broccoli, and sweet alyssum go to flower. The profusion of small flowers from mustard family plants are a magnet for beneficial wasps.
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