It’s fall and with the crisp air comes a time to relax and forget about the garden. Or can you? You might not be able to see them, but those garden pests you battled all summer are still lurking, waiting to ruin your plants next spring. All of those obnoxious insects that have bugged you all summer are starting to disappear as the days and nights get cold. Many of those garden pests are still around. They have laid their eggs in your lovely dark, rich top soil and are settling down for a long winter’s nap. Fall is the best time for you to get a handle on insects in your garden. You’ll be glad you did when spring rolls around.
You can make great strides in reducing your overall bug problems next year by taking some simple steps this fall.
After you have finished harvesting your edible plants, remove dead plant material and any weeds to discourage garden pests who need hiding places. Do the same with dead annuals after the first frost. Don’t toss the waste in your compost. It’s unlikely that your compost gets warm enough to kill off all the pests and you’ll end up putting them back in the garden.
Till The Soil
Tilling seems like something you do in the spring, but take the time to till the soil during the cold weather. This will expose your garden pests, and they will die of cold or get eaten by local birds. You will also disrupt their life cycle and lower the population. Tilling in fall also has the advantage of preparing the soil for spring planting. It breaks up any hard clumps that have formed and gets air circulating into the earth. The perfect time to till is just before a hard frost. In the spring you can then begin planting flowers that are not attractive to bugs. Check out my post, Plants & Other Ideas To Repel Insects, for more information.
Use Natural Repellents
Use natural repellents like peppermint oil or citronella candles. Keeping harmful insects out of your garden, should be easy with these fragrant repellents. Bear in mind too that natural repellents are always the way to go. One thing that you should never do is try to kill the bugs with poison because it may end up killing other animals and plants as well.
Encourage The Right Kind of Birds
As you probably know, birds are quite good at helping with bugs and other pests. They tend to eat a whole variety of spiders, mosquitoes, aphids, insects, and other types of bugs that could otherwise prove to be detrimental to your garden. Budget 101 has a great article, Birds in the Garden, which tells you which birds are helpful and which should be detered.
Do you homestead or have some laying hens? Chickens are great tillers and love to eat garden pests. One chicken can till 50 square feet of established sod in 4 to 6 weeks. Chickens will eat all those bug larvae, bug eggs, and bugs that are hiding. This will help with tick control too.
Enrich Your Soil
Now is the time to add mulch, compost, and amendments to your garden. Healthy soil means healthier plants, and healthy plants are less likely to succumb to the effects of garden pests. Check your soil’s pH, adjust as necessary and add fertilizer, mulch or anything else your soil needs.
Be Bug Free
Once you follow these steps in your fall garden, you are free to proceed to your rocking chair in front of a cozy fire. Now relax knowing your spring garden will be in better shape than ever. If you are like me, you can use this time to read and relax.
This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own.
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