It’s hard to treat a problem if you don’t know the cause. Many times our instinct is to just kill every bug we see in the garden to protect our precious plants. We have worked hard to grow them and we didn’t plant vegetables to share with bugs. However, if we poison every living thing in the garden to address the one that is causing a problem we can cause more harm than good (to the garden and yourself).
Get to know your plants and the insects that like to eat them and the critters that eat the insects. Keep an eye out for any obvious bite marks or infestations. If you suspect a problem, check the underside of leaves and along plant stems. If you find an insect you don’t recognize take a picture and look it up on an insect ID app or in Google. Once you know what insect is causing the trouble you will be able to quickly search out the best way to safely protect your plants from it.
These are some of the most common garden pests and how to treat them.
Aphids attack almost all vegetables. There are winged and non-winged aphid types. They suck the juice from the plants weakening them and some transmit viruses to plants. Garlic-chile spray and neem oil both will help get rid of aphids.
Cabbage worms and other caterpillars
Cabbage moth caterpillars live on cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers, collards, and kale. Adults are white or yellow/white moths that flutter joyfully about in the garden, especially on warm sunny days. They lay eggs on the undersides of leaves. The eggs hatch into pale green caterpillars that feed on the leaves.
Another caterpillar to look out for is the tomato hornworm caterpillar (aka potato hornworm, or tobacco hornworm). They are large hungry caterpillars that can eat all the leaves off of a tomato or potato plant in just a couple of days. If you find plants with missing leaves (just the stems remaining) search carefully for the caterpillar if it stays on the plant it will keep eating and can kill or severely stunt a plant’s growth.
Hand-pick caterpillars off your plants to remove them from the garden. Wasps and birds will also eat the caterpillar eggs and caterpillars.
Squirrels are cute and playful but can be pesky and troublesome garden pests. They dig in the garden burying or looking for nuts and can uproot seedlings and disturb newly planted seeds. They eat fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, and cucumbers and are can sometimes just act like troublemakers. Spray your plants and the area around the garden with a garlic chile spray to repel them, they do not like the strong smell.
Lizards both large and small can eat many garden plants. They can be pests around the house and the garden. Spray your plants and the area around the garden with a garlic chile spray to repel the lizards, they do not like the strong smell.
Safe Garden Sprays
Safely prevent many pests and diseases