Basically, anything that looks like a caterpillar, ant, flea, grasshopper, maggot, tiny white thing, slug or snail is suspect. The image (left) is a common aphid, also known as plant lice because of their very small size (less than 1/16″ long), and anything that looks like this will eat your plants.

Rodents, rabbits and deer are problems in many parts of the country, as well, but the best way to deal with these is to build a wire mesh or other type of fence. You wouldn’t want to harm these furry things, would you?

MOTHER NATURE’S BUG REPELLENTS

The bad bugs you just read about really don’t like onion, garlic, chrysanthemums and chive. So, mother would like you to plant these around your garden, this method is called “companion planting” and is a highly effective way of controlling the bugs & aphids. Also, when watering, use a garden hose soap dispenser with a only few drops of dish soap. Bugs hate this. Weeding also prevents insect infestation. And, slugs/snails love beer. It’s lethal to them, so place a few small plates full around until the seedlings grow up.

If you still see signs of insect damage, talk to someone in the gardendepartment of a Big Box or nursery. There are many earth friendly, organic fertilizers and soil additives. Just make sure they’re earthworm friendly, too!

SEEDS AND PLANTS

If starting from seeds, buy quality ones from companies you trust and follow the instructions on the package. Also, if buying online, make sure you get seeds for your location, or buy from a local retailer. Easy vegetables to grow are beets, zucchini, summer squash, bush variety pumpkin, onions, rutabaga, leeks, shallots, tomato and peppers. Corn is easy too, but make sure it doesn’t block the sun when it grows up. Also, melons, squash and cucumbers can be trained to climb a fence if you need space.

Check with your local plant nursery or garden department of a Big Box near you for other suggestions and ask them for ideas on Companion Planting, if this interests you. Remember to water early in the morning to conserve moisture and over watering is worse than under watering. Also, remove any over ripe vegetables as this can attract unwanted pests.

A GOOD TILTH

Finally, in order to achieve “a good tilth”, which simply means having your soil create a thriving population of healthy microbes, organic material and an aerated, earthworm and good bug neighborhood, follow these vegetable gardening tips and the advice you’ll get at the garden shops and retailers.

Keep in mind that even a small amount of added compost and fertilizer helps retain water and keeping your garden healthy is the best insect block. Having a good tilth will produce large, robust, great tasting vegetables year after year and will repay all your efforts a hundred times over!

For more, search vegetable gardening tipsgood tilth or any other keyword you see here using the Bing Custom Search box on the far right side of this page. Happy gardening!.

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