(By Zachary Tan, Temasek Polytechnic)
- Encourage healthy soil
Having healthier soil allows your plants to grow healthily with robust immune systems, which would enable the plants to be able to fight off diseases and pest naturally.
One way to build healthier soil is to use natural fertilizers such as fish and seaweed fertilizers once a month which would activate the soil microbes. This plays an essential role in decomposing organic matter, cycling nutrients and fertilizing the soil.
- Avoid cluttering your plants together
Placing the plants too close together cuts off proper air circulation from a good breeze on a day-to-day basis. In addition to that, tightly packed plants are like 5-star hotels for pest/ insects – where they enjoy both shelter from the heat and a cover from predators. This would also enable one infested plant to quickly spread to other plants. Try spacing out your plants a little.
- Water in the morning
Insect pests prey on stressed plants. Watering your plants in the morning allows for your plant to be well hydrated during the hottest time in the day and that would make them less likely to become stressed.
This also gives your plants ample time to dry off before nightfall. Garden pest such as slugs, snails and earwigs like to stay near damp plants.
- Plant strong-scented herbs
Herbs such as Mint, Basil, Lavender, Chives and Rosemary are natural pest deterrents due to their strong scents. Each of those herbs deters a different pest, for example, Mint deters flies and Chives deter aphids and certain types of beetles and flies.
- Be proactive rather than reactive
It is imperative to keep this in mind while you are planting your garden. It is only natural to find a few pests here and there as it’s all part of the gardening process. Even though a pest problem is usually a bad thing, it allows you to learn how to strengthen your garden ecosystem.
So be proactive rather than reactive, and in the long run, the pest problems will lessen.
Hope these tips can help you along your gardening journey. For those who have a strong interest in gardening and wants to be part of a group that also feel as strongly as you about gardening, join Happy Eco Club’s Facebook group and don’t forget to like U Live's Facebook page while you are at it to get updates on the latest events.