Vegetable Pests & Diseases

What keeps your plants healthy ? 

Soil fertility

A healthy soil produces healthy plants.  The care of your soil is the most important duty of every gardener.  It is the most effective method of preventing a pest or disease outbreak.  The ideal soil is a loose, moist humus rich soil full of worm and other soil life with a balanced nutrient content, including all the trace elements.  It may take a good few years to achieve this, but even the poorest soil can be made very fertile using organic methods.

Biodiversity

A garden with good biodiversity is a lot less prone to sudden  attacks of pests and diseases as there is a balance of pests and predators. To increase the biodiversity in your garden is probably one of the most rewarding pleasures in gardening as you have the opportunity to create habitats and homes for many living creatures that have been pushed to the edge either through the  destruction of their habitats or chemical poisoning.

Beneficial habitats include: – Pond  – Log or branch pile – Dry stone wall or stone pile – Native hedgerow and include fruiting shrubs  – Native trees – Clump of nettles in the corner of your garden – Wildflower patch

Apart from creating specialist habitats you can also increase the biodiversity within your vegetable patch through:

– Crop rotations – where pests and diseases are eliminated by prolonged periods without their hosts.

– Polycultures by growing different crops next to each other (inter-cropping) or undersowing with a green manure crop (under-cropping).

– Variety mixtures- by growing different varieties of the same vegetable in a plot.  This technique has been very successful with potatoes and lettuce and there is a lot of scope for further experiments.

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