Health at Home: Preventing Bugs and Disease in the Garden

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Jul 30, 2019 | Last Updated: Jul 30, 2019

Learn all about preventing garden pests and diseases.
The important thing you can do to prevent bugs and disease. Shutterstock Images

After your first garden, every year seems like another personal challenge to grow the garden even bigger.

There aren’t many things sweeter than strawberries from your own backyard.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of ways to get sick from the garden too.

Where some pathogens attack the plant, other pathogens can make their way to the dinner table if not properly cared for.

From digestive strife to food poisoning, there are a number of surprising ways sick pants can make you sick.

Following these golden rule guidelines will help you protect yourself against contaminated food and increase your gardens yield.

Choose Plants Wisely

Perhaps the simplest way to prevent bugs and disease in the garden is to carefully examine the plants you introduce to the garden.

If you are not starting from seed, it’s hard to predict the conditions the plants at the garden center were living under but there are a few signs that can indicate the health of the plant.

Simply put: Healthy plants have plenty of roots.

If you examine the bottom of the planter and see plenty of healthy roots, you’ve got a winner.

Plants with a lack of root around the pot are not as healthy as their rooty counterparts.

Plants with darker or ‘mushy’ roots are not in good health, either.

In fact, their often considered ‘sick’ and less immune to the pathogens found in the common garden.

Control the Environment

Once you’ve selected your planters and are ready to plant them in the garden, you need to control the environment.

First, make sure that soil you are planting in is free of contaminants.

A good way to accomplish this is to buy organic compost or make your own.

If you intend to make your own compost, make sure you understand what can and can’t go into compost.

Make sure the yard waste is 100% broken down.

You do not want compost in the decomposition phase in your garden.

Food or compost materials that are still rotting become a breeding ground for bad bugs and disease.

Second, make sure that you’re giving the plants room to breathe.

Plants can create their own humidity.

If you plant them too close together, you can damage their ability to regulate moisture and contribute to fungus and pathogens calling your plants home.

Follow the instructions for allotted space and keep growth in control.

Even plants that were planted within the recommended space of one another can grow into each other’s personal space.

Prevent Pests

Pest prevention may be the touchiest subject surrounding gardening.

In fact, many of today’s home gardens are inspired by the idea of growing healthier food.

With genetically modified vegetables and pesticide berries in every grocery store, it’s no wonder home gardeners take an organic approach to their food.

That being said, a garden is not without its labor.

In addition to watering, pruning, and caring for your plants you’ll need to protect them from common pests.

One of the safest ways to do this is with nematodes.

Beneficial nematodes are the easiest way to eliminate dangerous pesticides and prevent pests.

Water Carefully

Though watering plants may seem straightforward enough, there truly is an art to keeping the garden environment clear of fungi, bugs, and disease.

A lot of it can be contributed to your watering patterns.

When watering by hand, make sure that you are avoiding the leaves.

Hold the foliage to the side and water the roots.

Allowing extra moisture to build upon the plants you’re growing allows pathogens and fungi to have a breeding ground.

Conclusion

The disease is a triangle.

It can only occur when three factors are present:

  • a host plant that can get sick
  • a pathogen that can attack the plant
  • environmental conditions

Following these healthy garden guidelines will help you prevent the disease triangle and grow healthier plants.

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