This week’s question for our New Brunswick Garden Mentors is: What are the most common garden pests in your area and how do you deal with them?
A little note from the editors
Our mentors are willing to answer your questions. Check out their bios for the best way to contact them. We type out phone numbers and the @ sign so bots can’t get hold of the info. Elaine and Archie
Pests!!!!… Well, striped cucumber beetles are always a problem. We use insect netting and good rotation and removal of plant material in the fall (not always possible).
I can be reached best by texting: five-zero-six-nine-six-one-two-three-four-three
Keep in mind that the majority of insects in your garden are beneficial Thank goodness for predators that eat the pests; parasitoids that kill or weaken a host; decomposer/recyclers that promote healthy soil; and pollinators that facilitate fruit and seed growth. It is therefore important to first identify the “pest” you are looking at before acting to get rid of them.
A few ways to outsmart those pests are:
Use row covers on new seedlings to allow them to grow sufficiently to build resistance to undesirable insects.
Avoid overcrowding plants. The lack of air flow around plants is an important factor in the spread of insects and plant diseases. Aphids in particular multiply where there is inadequate air circulation.
Scout out your garden frequently for pests and disease so that you can get an early handle on problems. Hand picking early can prevent larger infestations.
Inter-plant flowers in your vegetable garden that attract the beneficial insects and repel the pests such as Marigolds and Nasturiums. Members of the carrot family such as fennel and dill attract Ladybugs.
One unwelcome critter in my garden is the potato beetle that attacks my tomato plants. Generally, it is best to just pick them off. However if you have lots of them, lightly sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the plants and on the underside of the leaves has worked for me in the past.
You can also combine 30 ml of diatomaceous earth diluted in 4 litres of water and spray on the plant. You should take some safety precautions by wearing gloves and be careful not to inhale the diatomaceous earth as it can irritate. We all have masks now!
Slugs tend to devour tender seedlings before they get a chance to grow. I usually remove any mulch especially around cucumbers and cabbages so there re fewer places for them to hide.I tried slug bait this year to great effect.
After they’ve grown a bit, the plants are less vulnerable so the mulch could be re-applied. The rest of the season, old fashioned slug (beer) traps keep them out of trouble — mostly.
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