Gardening with Laurie: Check garden daily for pest, diseases

By Laurie Garretson
May 8, 2014 at 12:08 a.m.

It happens every season. We gardeners pretty much take it for granted, not to say that it's wanted. Seasoned gardeners realize it's something we just have to deal with to some degree or another.

Unfortunately, some first-time gardeners find garden pests and disease problems too overwhelming and give up after their first season.

Let's see if I can give a few suggestions on how you can prevent or stop some of those frustrations that can come from garden diseases and pest problems.

First, I would suggest keeping your garden clean and weeded. Vegetable plants past their prime can attract many unwanted guests. Pull these plants up and throw them in your compost pile. Weeds compete with desirable vegetation for water, so they also belong in the compost pile.

Using cardboard, several sheets of newspapers or mulch in the walkways of your garden can help with weed control. Using a thick layer of mulch all over the vegetable areas helps with weed control, keeping moisture in the soil and preventing some pests problems.

Many garden diseases, such as bacterial problems, fungi and mold can be spread by splashing water on to a leaf. Mulching will help keep these problems under control and so will using soaker hoses instead of sprinklers.

Vegetable gardens need daily attention. Pests can move in and cause a lot of damage in a very short period of time.

You need to check for pests and any sign of diseases on a daily basis. The first sign of a problem will be the best and easiest time to correct it.

Rotating plants to different planting areas each season can help prevent many disease issues that can come from the soil in those certain areas.

Lightly tilling soil between plantings can help get rid of many types of pests. Beneficial nematodes applied before planting your fall and spring gardens can eliminate many in-ground pests.

Keeping lightweight fabric covers over crops - until pollination is needed - will help to prevent flying pests from laying eggs on your plants.

Once female flowers are present, the fabric should be removed for pollination to occur.

Next week, I will provide more tips on organic pests prevention.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.



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