After spending an entire weekend picking out this year's vegetable crops and flowers and multiple days planting, digging and sowing, it'd be a shame to let a few little - or big - garden pests ruin all of that hard work. The next time you go to grab your watering can and gardening tools, consider these common pests before heading out.
For anyone who has ever read the popular children's book, "The Hungry Caterpillar," you know how much damage this crawler can cause. There are a variety of caterpillars and each can cause hefty damage by burrowing through fruits, leaving droppings in your fresh soil and chewing through plants and leaves, according to Rodale's Organic Life. Long and wormlike, caterpillars are segmented insects that often have six or more legs and soft bodies. To prevent infestations in your garden, use floating row covers or spray plants with spinosad.
The most common garden maggot is the cabbage root maggot and according to the Old Farmer's Almanac, these pests are big threat to vegetables of all kinds. They'll likely cause the most damage to crops like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Yet, other maggot species have been known to chew through a number of other crop vegetables as well. One of the most difficult things about this pest is that they are difficult to notice due to their tendencies to hatch and feed beneath your garden's soil. Without careful inspection, you may not notice them at all until plants and crops begin to wilt or stop growing.
Late planting, floating row covers, crop rotation and sticky traps are all common methods for practicing home pest control tactics in your garden.
Larger garden pests
Unfortunately, when it comes to gardening it's not just the tiny invaders you need to be wary of. The National Gardening Association asserted that potential animal pests including woodchucks, skunks, raccoons, moles, opossums, rabbits, gophers and mice to name a few, are also known to take a toll on gardens. While all animal pests require varying types of prevention methods, one rule of thumb that encompasses them all is to keep all sources of food, water and shelter either unavailable or unattractive. For instance, be sure that all garbage cans are sealed shut, that all compost piles are removed from your property and that there are no holes or cracks in your local sheds.