Homemade Pest Barriers for Your Vegetable Garden

One of the most satisfying and relaxing hobbies is gardening. Growing your own vegetables offers a lot of benefits. For one, you’re almost always assured of healthy food. This is especially true if you’re using organic methods in caring for your crops. Two, owning your own vegetable garden also allows you to save money. After all, you won’t have to purchase vegetables from your local grocery store, since you can simply pick them from your own garden. Three, gardening is a great way to boost your mood. The repetitive task can help reduce your stress, and when you see your vegetable garden flourishing, it can easily bring a smile to your face.

However, tending to your vegetable garden can also be a bit stressful. You have to protect it against the different weather conditions, and most importantly, you have to protect it against pests. If you don’t want to use pesticides, then here are some homemade pest barriers that you can do for your vegetable garden.

Homemade Plant Cover

Plant covers not only help retain the soil’s heat, but it can also help you a lot if you want to plant early. In addition to these, plant covers can also protect your plants from pestiferous insects as well as rodents.

In creating your own plant cover, all you will need are woven plastic and wooden frame. You can also make use of wire frame as well as muslin. Setting this up is easy if you have basic carpentry skills. You only have to build the frame and cover it with the muslin or the woven plastic. Once done, simply cover the plants you want protected and secure the entry points by placing weights over them. This can keep pestiferous pests and small rodents from damaging the plants.

Homemade Screen Cones

Cabbage is susceptible to maggots and other insect pests. If you want to protect the young plants from these pests, what you can do is to make homemade screen cones. These pest barriers work similarly to plant covers in such a way that you place the cone over the young plant, preventing pests from damaging the cabbage.

What you need are the same materials – a strip of wood and a woven plastic. Shape the woven plastic into a cone. See to it that it’s big enough to cover the plant without crowding it. Once done, secure the edges on the wood. You can simply pin the edges of the screen on the wood and secure it with small nails or staple it shut.

Screen cones can not only prevent maggots from chewing through the roots, but it can also prevent flies from laying their eggs on the plant. These eggs, when they hatch, become the maggots that attack the roots.

When to Call a Pest Control Company

These pest barrier methods are very effective in controlling the pest population in your vegetable garden. However, if these methods don’t work and your plants are unhealthy and/or dying, then maybe it’s time to call your local pest control company. Just see to it though that the company offers green services to get rid of insect pests, particularly since you don’t want toxic chemicals to contaminate your garden’s soil and plants.

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Jennifer Dallman contributes articles to a number of pest control blogs, including http://www.preventivepestcontrol.com/ Owning a vegetable garden is very rewarding, but if your garden is infested with pestiferous insects, then be sure to get rid of them the organic and safe way.

 






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Sowing, Growing and Gathering Vegetables

Whatever vegetables you plan to grow, you are bound to choose some of those key crops that are to be found in most vegetable gardens. These include seasonal favourites such as runner beans for summer, leeks for winter and purple sprouting broccoli for spring. Most gardeners with a vegetable plot will grow a few potatoes and some salad crops also. The most important thing to remember is that there is always more than one way to achieve a successful crop, but it is useful to have some guidelines to get you started.

This article will give you some basic ground rules to follow in order to sow, grow and gather your favourite vegetables; and it helps you to decide which varieties to choose.

Beans, Broad

There are many different varieties of broad bean on offer but they are not nearly as widely grown as French and runner beans. Broad beans are highly nutritious and are packed with protein.

Sow

The seed of some varieties such as ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ and ‘The Sutton’ can be sown in the open ground I autumn. Sow seeds 20cm apart and 5cm deep. The seeds will germinate and the plants should overwinter, although occasionally young plants can be wiped out by extremely severe weather, particularly if the soil is heavy and wet.

Sow in November and stand them in a protected spot outdoors in late January or February. Plant out when the soil starts to dry out and warm up in early March.

Grow

Broad beans success in most soils provided they are well drained and not too acidic. If necessary, add lime in autumn every couple of years as a precaution.

Gather

Early sowings usually produce a worthwhile crop of beans in early summer. Pick them when young. The beans should just be showing through the pods.

Carrots

Although readily available and cheap to buy, carrots are worth growing for the wonderful flavour of young roots pulled fresh from the garden. They are not difficult to grow, but they are quite choosy about soil. If you cannot grow carrots in the open ground, you can certainly achieve beautifully tender roots in a container, box or raised bed.

Sow

Carrots can be sown directly into the open ground at any time from early spring through to early summer, according to variety. If you are growing carrots in rows, the seed should be in 2cm deep and the rows 15-20cm apart. The seedlings need to be thinned about 5cm apart for the roots to develop fully.

Grow

Do not add manure or garden compost to the soil in the autumn before planting, as lumps of organic matter often cause the roots to fork or become distorted. Simply apply a general purpose fertiliser about a month before sowing the seed and fork thoroughly into the ground.

Gather

Carrots are usually ready to harvest between 12 and 16 weeks after sowing; however, on light soils they can often be left in the ground for much longer.

Potatoes

The potato is our most popular vegetable, a staple of our diet, despite its relatively recent introduction from South America, in the 16th century. It owes its success largely to its versatility: chips, roast, mashed, boiled or salad potatoes – something to suit every taste.

Sow

Seed potatoes are actually small tubers that have been certified as virus-free. They are normally produced in colder parts of the UK such as Scotland, where there are far fewer virus spreading aphids.


Seed potatoes are available from January; this is the best time to buy them because you have the widest choice and you can control their storage conditions until it is time to plant them. Buying early allows plenty of time to chit, or sprout, the potatoes before planting in mid to late march. They usually take around six weeks to sprout.

As soon as you have bought your seed potatoes unpack them, lay them out in trays and store them in a cool place. When you are ready to chit them in late winter, place the tubers in egg boxes, or trays filled with crumpled newspaper, with the ‘rose’ end facing upwards. This is the end with the most eyes or growth buds. Do not worry if both ends of the tuber look the same; varieties vary and some produce more shoots than others, stand the potatoes in a cool light place to allow the shoots to develop.

 Grow

Potatoes are heavy feeders and they need a good supply of nitrogen in the soil to produce a worthwhile crop, mainly because the tubers are actually swollen stems rather than roots.

Dig the ground it autumn and add plenty of well-rotted manure. Plant out in mid to late March and be prepared to protect the emerging shoots with fleece.

When the shoots are 10-15cm high they should be earthed up. This can be done with a draw hoe, the back of a rake or with a border spade.

Potatoes need lots of water as they grow. If the soil is too dry the tubers will fail to develop.

Gather

Potatoes are usually ready to harvest once the flowers have faded or the flower buds have developed and dropped.

This article was written by gardening lover Yasmin Holloway. For more great gardening advice visit http://www.gardenhealth.com/

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A bad reaction to tomato plants

My garden is growing beautifully as usual this summer. It’s been quite hot, especially in July so the plants seem to have stopped growing, but that’s ok, they all seem to be healthy.

My tomatoes are growing like weeds. I have four Sweet 100’s tomato plants that are covered in tiny green tomatoes. I can’t wait for them to ripen so that we can have a taste.

I also have five regular sized tomato plants – a variety of patio tomatoes and Early Girl Tomatoes and each of them have several large tomatoes on them in various shades ranging from green to almost red. We’ve already had about four ripe red tomatoes from one of the plants already and they were lovely. Yum.

Unfortunately earlier this evening I seem to have had a reaction to the large tomato plants. I noticed that the tomato plant vines were flopping over so I got some bamboo stakes and some plastic green tape and started staking the tomato plants and within seconds my hands and arms were on fire – burning and itching.

I’ve never had a reaction like that to tomato plants before. I knew that the leaves and plants could be irritating to the skin but I’d never experienced any problems. I had been working with my roses earlier and I had some scratches on my hands and arms so maybe that’s why the reaction was so bad … but man … I can still feel some burning! I had to go inside and take a Benadryl in the hopes that it would calm the reaction down. If I’m still feeling the itching and burning on my skin at bedtime I’ll put some hydracortizone cream on my hands and arms. Luckily I happen to have some prescription cream.

Have any of you ever had a problem with touching tomato plants in the past? Is it an allergy or just a bad irritation? I have had tomatoes come up in allergy tests but I can still eat them most of the time.

BTW Don’t forget to also check out my other gardening blog Organic Gardening Tips. I’d love to have you come visit me over there too!

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