1. Don’t Buy Plants Without Examining Them First
New plants can introduce pests and diseases to your otherwise healthy garden. That said, it would be advisable to carefully examine all plants you wish to buy before bringing them to the garden. You thus should be able to distinguish between a healthy and unhealthy plant from the lot. Luckily, you don’t need a gardener’s degree to know this. There are plenty of guidelines, magazines, books, catalogs, and tutorials that can help. The most common signs to watch out for include rotten/rotting stems, dead spots, and insects on the plant. An infected plant can quickly introduce pests and diseases to a healthy garden.
Don’t just check the stem and leaves only; inspect the root system to ensure it is healthy as well. Like stems and leaves, Roots can carry vermin and infections, most of which can spread to healthy plants as well. To check the roots, gently place the base of the stem between your fingers, then invert the pot gently. Tapping the pot gently will expose most of the roots, making it easier to inspect. A healthy root system should be firm, sometimes white, and well-spaced around the root ball. Watch out for mushy or dark roots, which may indicate an infection or a rotting root system.
2. Avoid Partially Composted Compost
Some organic materials take longer to compost than others. If some of the materials in your compost pile are yet to decompose, it would then be advisable to wait until all have composted fully before introducing them to your garden. The natural process of composting takes time and sometimes generates temperatures high enough to kill pathogens that might have been in the materials. Partially decomposed plant material may still have some pathogens, hence not worth using in the garden yet. You also shouldn’t use materials from the compost pile as mulch. I would highly recommend that you have a look at Pristine Gardens.
3. Watch Out for Bugs in The Garden
Bugs inflict more than just ‘cosmetic’ damage to plants. The tiny wounds they leave behind provide a perfect entry point for bacteria and viruses, a reason you want to ensure your garden is free of harmful bugs. Aphids and thrips, for instance, are carriers of various pathogens and viruses detrimental to plants. Leafhoppers too can be a menace in the garden and should be eliminated. Installing a protective barrier to keep insects out can help if you have a bug problem. Be sure to use organic pest control methods if your garden is already infested.
4. Clean The Garden Up in Fall
Make a habit of cleaning up the garden in the fall. This applies to those living in moderate or tropical climates as well. Cleaning everything up makes it easier to control any diseases already in the garden and deter an infestation.
Most viruses and microbes can hibernate during winter and start attacking your leaves after emerging in spring. Clearing the garden can thus help prevent common diseases such as black spots on roses, daylily leaf streaks, and iris leaf spots. You could also use the plant material for your next compost. To prevent possible reinfection, you might also want to remove any foliate and stem stems left after harvesting.
These are some of the measures and steps you can take to keep your garden pest-free. You can read more on these online or other gardening tutorials as well. You might also want to hire a professional gardener for advice on how to improve your yields and help create a healthy garden.