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Weeds and Pest Control

  • How do I keep weeds out of my garden?

    Raised beds generally require less weeding than in-ground gardens. Soil conditions are more controlled with less foreign seeds, and the planter sides are barriers against invading plants. Fill the tops of raised beds with sterile bag soil and mulch around plants to prevent airborn seeds from taking root. Keep the grounds around your garden free of weeds and mow tall grasses before they can go to seed.


  • How do I get rid of slugs and snails in my garden?

    An infestation of slugs and snails can decimate a vegetable garden when humid and damp weather rolls in. To thwart these pests it takes a variety of techniques. Barriers and deterrents are your first line of defense.


  • How do I stop insects from eating my garden?

    You can safely control insect pests by setting traps, by companion planting with insectary plants, and by using organically derived sprays and diatomaceous earth as necessary.


  • How can I prevent fungal diseases in my garden?

    Fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, are a common problem in wet and humid environments. Raised beds help reduce the risk of fungal infection by elevating plants above the ground to increase airflow and lower humidity. Avoid over-watering and watering at night, particularly in cooler weather. Be careful to water at the ground level so infected foliage doesn’t get wet.


  • How do I keep burrowing pest such as gophers out of my garden?

    Half-inch steel hardware cloth attached to the bottom of raised beds is an effect barrier against gophers and burrowing rodents. Hardware cloth is available at most hardware stores in 3 and 4 foot wide rolls and can be cut to length using metal shears.


  • When should I use chemical pesticides and fungicides?

    Usually, it is not necessary to use chemical pesticides and fungicides in a home garden; and using toxic chemicals will likely do more harm than good. Instead, consider using non-chemical solutions such as interplanting insectory and companion plants in your garden, maintaining healthy soil fertility, and using organic sprays or diatomaceous earth dustings.


  • How do I keep rabbits and deer out of my garden?

    Staked fencing can be used to keep out rabbits and deer. Use three foot high mesh metal fencing burried underground or secured to the sides of the planter as a barrier against rabbits. Taller raised beds help keep rabits reaching plants from above, whilehardware cloth secured to the bottoms of beds prevents rabits from digging below.


  • How do I keep dogs out of my garden?

    Dogs can dig up plants and soil, contaminate gardens with urine and feces, and generally wreck havoc on delicate landscapes, unless trained otherwise. Besides fencing, there are a number of ways to discourage dogs from your garden.


  • What deterrent plants best prevent harmful insects and other pests in the garden?

    Consult this helpful planting table for determining what insectary and companion plants will help you manage pests.


  • What can I do to attract beneficial wildlife to my garden?

    Attracting beneficial wildlife can be as simple as interplanting herbs, seed producing plants, and nectar-rich flowers with your vegetables, maintaining a water feature in the garden such as a fountain or birdbath, or installing a bird nest box.  When backyard chickens are allowed into the garden they will happily feed on pest insects and can significantly reduce their populations.

  • How do I reduce damage from carpenter ants and termites without using poisons and baits?

    Add a 4-inch layer of 16-grit sand mixed with other coarse mineral materials such as crushed volcanic cinders, gypsum, and diatomaceous earth to the drainage layer beneath your raised beds, and extend this barrier for 20 inches beyond all outer sides of your beds. Digging up and burning nests in the winter as well as removing woody debris such as dead trees from the garden area are very effective methods for controlling termites and ants.

  • How do I deal with rats and mice in my garden?

    The trick is to catch infestations early and to be consistent in trapping and killing rodents before they bear more offspring. Mechanical traps are the safest and most effective control method against rats and mice.


  • What is companion planting and insectary planting?

    Companion plants are two or more plants that perform better when planted together rather than alone because of mutual exchanges of services that make the plants healthier and more pest resistant. Insectary plants are plants that deter or attract specific insects for either pollination or pest control purposes.

  • Will a raised bed keep out rabbits?

    A tall enough raised bed, 36 inches or more, could prove to be a challenge for the average rabbit. Rabbits can also burrow under beds or under fences that haven’t been reinforced.


  • How does adding a layer of seedless mulch help deter weeds and pests?

    There are many different options for mulch, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, though always worth the work one puts into it.