Harboring Insects and Diseases

Harboring Insects and Diseases

How To Prevent Harboring Insects and Diseases

There are times when I’m so busy I don’t have time to do the things I recommend. This past season I had two separate gardens in two different locations.  I had moved and I no longer lived near one of them. My energy was focused on my new location. In turn my compost pile at one location had fully decomposed and I could see it was mostly soil. As a gardener one must always keep in mind any actions that can lead to harboring of insect and diseases.

Prevent insect infestations like Japanese grubs

Once the season was over, I realized the folly of holding on to the one garden and decided it was time to dismantle everything and relocate to my new site.  I started moving my fresh compost and everything was great until I found myself digging a foot and a half deep.  There they were an abundance of grubs!

Turning Your Compost

As you can see from the picture on the right, I was breeding lots of grubs. This can happen, as the environment is ideal. I had kept adding new vegetable scraps and other materials, and covering with a layer of soil, but never turning the whole compost pile.  Maybe it was the warmth provided from the decomposition and the safety of undisturbed soft compost that drew such a high breeding ground of grubs.  Lesson learned: turn your compost at least once a month no matter how small in order to prevent insect infestations like this. See video on turning your compost https://youtu.be/030HTgPO_Eo

Clean-up After Harvesting 

Sometimes it’s easy to just walk away and leave the dead plant material behind. Whatever insects and diseases were present will hibernate and come back as pest infestation the following year. Therefore, cleaning, removing and disposing of infested plants along with taking note of where certain crops were grown is very important.  This way you can rotate your crops and plant a totally different family the following year. If rotation is tough due to limited space, see if you can share with a neighbor and make an arrangement for each to grow different vegetables, thus allowing you to rotate your crops.

Precautions When There are Mild Winters

One advantage of mild winters or a very long fall is that you can continue to harvest your greens as well as other fall season crops.  These are: lettuce, mustard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, bok choy and many more. They will continue to develop, and you can harvest them if they are protected against that occasional frost with row covers. Warm winter or a long fall also means that your insect population can continue to thrive and if there are no preventive measures like using a row cover you can end up harboring insects and diseases . To learn more about row covers: https://www.gardeningtheorganicway.com/maintenance/fabric-row-covers-keeping-bugs/

Following these simple suggestions can go a long way in the prevention of insect infestations.

Disadvantages of a Warm Winter

  • Many insects and diseases die when there is a hard winter as the cold kills them. If the temperatures are very mild, the following season, the populations of insects tends to be higher and so are the diseases which can result in heavy insect infestations.
  • If the weather stays warm or a warm spells comes along and is long enough, fruiting trees can bloom early; then, when the frost comes, the blooms die and you will lose the crop.

To learn more about growing vegetables, crop rotation, and controlling insects purchase my book ‘Garden the Organic Way’ https://gardentheorganicway.etsy.com