If the rising cost of food has you thinking about growing some of your own vegetables this year, you are not alone. And a backyard vegetable garden comes with a number of benefits:
- Eating fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy.
- Growing some vegetables at home can help make eating healthy easier.
- Gardening boosts physical activity.
- Gardening is a natural stress reliever.
Home gardeners, like farmers, sometimes have to manage threats from insects, weeds and diseases. Here are a few tips for warding off unwanted pests in your vegetable garden.
Tips to keep the pests away:
- Plant companion flowers like marigolds and sunflowers that naturally discourage bugs from invading your garden.
- Plant in straight rows to make cultivating, harvesting and insect control easier.
- Monitor regularly for pests – catching the problem early is key! (Tip: remove the bottom third of leaves on tomato plants to help prevent mould and rot.)
- Remove weeds and insect-ravaged plants.
- Encourage beneficial insects (consider bordering your garden with plants that provide food sources like flowers that are rich in pollen and/or nectar).
- When necessary, apply a pesticide to control your specific pest problem. Consider whether you can target a specific problem by spot spraying rather than spraying the entire garden. (Note: all pesticides available in stores in Canada have been reviewed and approved by Health Canada. Just follow the label directions.)