Gardeners can have a love/hate relationship with insects. But those who succeed at bringing in bountiful harvests each year usually understand just how important many insects are. Inexperienced gardeners may think of bugs as the enemy, but there are plenty of beneficial insects. By knowing the difference between the good bugs and the harmful ones, you can improve the condition of your garden and reap the benefits when it comes time to harvest.
Encourage these insects
Not all insects eat plant material. Many are carnivorous and they will destroy those bugs that are damaging your plants. Praying mantises are wonderful to have around your vegetable garden and they are very interesting creatures. They eat a lot of harmful bugs and they don’t damage your plants. Ladybugs, green lacewings, and some ground beetles will feed on those smaller insects that may be eating your vegetable plants. And, while not an insect, spiders are excellent predators. If you want to add more of these beneficial insects to your garden, you can actually purchase many types online. Don’t forget the lowly earthworm. While they don’t do anything to protect your plants, they are excellent at creating rich and fertile dirt and should be welcomed into your garden.
Keep these away
Any gardener will tell you of the damage that can be done to plants in very little time if there is an infestation of pests. Common pests include aphids, cutworms, and Japanese beetles. Aphids are very small and are hard to spot unless you’re looking for them. If you notice holes or cuts in your plants, look around and you may find some very tiny bugs or some caterpillars. Many species of moths love to lay their eggs on cabbages, broccoli, and other popular garden plants. And these larvae, once hatched, can quickly destroy your plants. Also, be wary of snails and slugs. They’re not insects but they love to munch on leafy greens and can eat a lot in very little time.
Beneficial insects are friends with the vegetable gardener. They work hard to keep away many of the most common garden pests. Encourage a healthy garden by using natural methods to keep away harmful bugs and avoid most pesticides when possible. These chemicals not only kill the bad bugs, but also the ones you want to keep around. Epsom salts, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and even dish soap can all be used to keep away the harmful bugs while not hurting the good ones.