Photo by Pixabay/Warren Matthews
1. Grow Resistant Varieties
Research seed catalogs to find varieties that are have shown resistance to common pests. For example, there are some varieties of carrot that are resistant to carrot rust fly and potatoes that can shake off eelworm.
2. Confuse Pests
Interplanting crops makes it harder for pests to home in on their preferred crops. Interplant different vegetables together, or mix up vegetables with herbs or flowers.
Try growing vegetables with colored leaves, such as purple or red varieties of kale or cabbage, that bugs won’t expect.
3. Plant Outside of Peak Times
Choose early or late varieties that sidestep the peak times for common pests. For example, growing Asian greens and mustards in the fall helps your crops avoid the attentions of flea beetles, or grow early peas to escape problems with pea moth.
4. Grow Out of the Way of Pests
Grow carrots and cabbage family crops in pots at least 18in above ground, where low-flying carrot fly and cabbage root fly cannot reach them. Raising containers up off the ground also helps reduce problems with slugs and other soil-dwelling pests.
Start seedlings off under cover in pots to prevent the tender seedlings being attacked by pests such as pigeons and slugs. Once they are bigger and sturdier, they will be more capable of withstanding minor attacks.
5. Use Barriers
Insect mesh or row cover fabric will stop pests such as squash bugs, aphids and carrot rust fly from reaching your crops. Suspend covers on hoops or frames, and secure them around the edges so pests can’t walk in at soil level.
6. Attract Beneficial Bugs
Encourage more beneficial bugs such as ladybugs, lacewings and hoverflies into your garden by growing lots of the flowers like cosmos, sweet alyssum and dill among or next to your veggies.
7. Keep Plants Healthy
Strong, healthy plants have their own pest defenses that often enable them to stand up to pest attacks. Make sure to grow plants in the right conditions, fertilize and water adequately, and feed the soil with plenty of well-rotted organic matter such as compost to promote a thriving root system that supports healthy top growth.
Get More Tips with These Great Gardening Resources
Our popular Vegetable Garden Planner can help you map out your garden design, space crops, know when to plant which crops in your exact location, and much more.
Need crop-specific growing information? Browse our Crops at a Glance Guide for advice on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.
Watch more videos on gardening techniques and other self-reliance, DIY topics on our Wiser Living Videos page.