Creating Unfavorable Surroundings For Bugs (Part 1)
How can Creating Unfavorable Surroundings help the gardener avoid insect infestation?
Different garden insects have their favorite plants and favorite times to appear on the scene. Creating unfavorable surroundings for bugs requires careful observation, planning, and a good deal of trial and error. In this post I will cover 4 of 7 methods which are good for creating unfavorable surroundings for bugs. The other three will be covered in “Creating Unfavorable Surroundings For Bugs Part 2).
Method 1: Creating Unfavorable Surroundings by Timing Your Plantings
Choosing the right time to sow or transplant is an easy way to create unfavorable surroundings for bugs and pests. Many people plant their crops as soon as they can in the spring in spite of the fact that many times the temperature drops dramatically during the night.
Because of the fluctuation in the weather, the crops that are planted too early become stressed, become weak and sickly, and attract insects or disease.
Here in southern Ontario, while certain crops such as onions and garlic can be planted in early spring (even in the fall), most crops should not be planted before May 24 unless they are planted in a cold frame and protected from weather fluctuations. (Read your directions before planting)
A second timing plan is to keep seedlings covered with a light row cover and small transplants in the cold frame for a while to keep flea beetles from eating the leaves. Once the plants are bigger, flea beetles won’t damage them as much.
Another idea is to observe and keep notes on what types of insects appear and when they appear. You can then better plan to spoil the insects’ feeding.
For example, if you know that the striped cucumber beetle will be out in early May, you can delay setting out your transplants for a few weeks. Bugs do not stick around where there is no food.
Another example is if you wait until the peonies flower to plant cabbage family crops, you’ll have little damage from cabbage worms.
Another option when creating unfavorable surroundings for bugs is to plan the release of your insect predators at the right time to gobble these unwanted insects that make their entry into the garden.
The idea here is to be observant and patient. If you know exactly when pests will be bursting on the scene, you can plan your planting, transplanting, and release of beneficial insects much more readily thus creating unfavorable surroundings for insects.
Method 2: Weeding Your Garden Regularly Is Also a way of Creating Unfavorable Surroundings
How can weeding your garden create an unfavorable surrounding for bugs? Weeds also need the soil’s nutrition to grow; in essence, they are using the nutrition that should be used to keep your garden plants strong and healthy. As a result plants are not as healthy as they should be and insects are attracted to them.
Weeds can be anything that grows without you planting it; that includes those plants which you think are from last year’s crop, but you’re not that sure and you’re curious. Well, yank those out too. Leave the nutrition to your crop to keep them unfavorable to pests.
In addition, some of these unwanted plants may attract pests that love to munch on your garden and can be a good hiding place for unwanted visitors. So keeping weeds out of your garden helps when creating unfavorable surroundings for bugs.
Method 3: Confuse The Bugs By Interplanting Your Crop
Creating unfavorable surroundings for bugs can be easily accomplished by interplanting your crop. As it is, we often plant our crops in neat rows: all the carrots together, all the beets together, etc. Once pests get to the preferred “row,” they can have an uninterrupted feast from one end of the row to the other end.
If plants are interplanted, it is more difficult for a crawling bug to get from feast one to feast two and more likely to become prey before they reach the next feeding nest. The more difficult it is for bugs to feed the more you are creating unfavorable surroundings for bugs.
Method 4: Make It Even More Difficult For The Bugs With Companion Planting
All plants give off a certain smell which bugs can detect and hone into. Planting a number of different types of vegetables in the same bed diffuses the plants’ attractive odors.
Intermingling the odors by planting different vegetables in the same bed is a great way of creating unfavorable surroundings for bugs, and pests have a more difficult time finding their lunch.
Companion planting is the answer to creating unfavorable surroundings for pests. You may want to read Companion Planting to become more familiar with this process. On the same blog you can find Companion Planting Chart for Veggies.
Methods 5, 6, and 7 are explained in Creating Unfavorable Surroundings for Bugs (part 2)