This month is a gift for warm-climate gardeners. Almost anything grows and flourishes in the fall and harvests are plentiful. Nights are also cooling off, making for pleasant evenings spent outdoors. Yet there’s just one complaint, it’s not quite cool enough to eradicate garden pests.
Tricks of integrated pest management, such as rotating planting locations and harvesting as soon as crops are ripe, keeps some pests at bay. If you have a pest problem, the following are proven solutions. Remember, the presence of a few pests does not mean an infestation. Monitor plants and use pesticides only when necessary.
6 Ways to Manage Fall Vegetable Garden Pests:
1. Soapy Water
Mix up a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap per one gallon of water. Spray onto infested plants. Ask your garden center associate before spraying because some plants are sensitive to any soap spray.
Handpicking is an effective option. Once you spot a large pest on your produce, put on your garden gloves and pick off the offending pest. Drop bugs into a bucket of soapy water and dispose far away from the garden.
3. Insecticidal Soaps or Horticultural Oil
Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils, such as neem oil, fight soft-bodied insects like aphids, whiteflies and mealy bugs. Spray directly on leaves. Both are safe to use indoors, around humans and pets, and will not harm beneficial insects. Follow instructions before using.
An easy way to capture insects is with a trap. Place targeted pest traps 20 to 30 feet from the plants you are protecting to lure pests away from the garden.
5. Beneficial Insects
Natural predators, such as ladybugs, feed on other pests. Order live ladybugs and release. If you introduce a natural predator, do not use chemical insecticides.
If all else fails, consider pesticides. Check with your The Home Depot Garden Center associate for appropriate vegetable gardening treatments. Apply late in the afternoon or in the early evening when bees and other pollinators are less active.