Directions

  1. Choose 2 crops that have suffered from pest problems in your garden in the past, judv suggests 2 likely subjects: potatoes (subject to attack by Colorado potato beetles) and onions (which can be seriously damaged by onion root maggots). Designate one of your problem crops as crop and the other as crop #2.
  2. Plant your garden as you usually would, with one exception Don't plant any seeds, sets, or plants ol crop #1, (Its okay to plant crop #2.)
  3. The following year when you plant your garden, plant crop #1, but don't plant any seeds, sets, or plants of crop #2, the second pest-troubled crop.
  4. During the season, keep records of the number of pests on crop ffl and the severity of damage they cause.
  5. The third year, plant crop #2, and skip crop #1. Keep notes again on damage,
  6. For the fourth year, start again with step

Note: "Many people have the experience of starting a new garden and having no pest problems, and then insects get worse and worse every year," Judy observes. That's because the insects become established local residents when they are provided with their lavorite foods year alter year. The starvation strategy will be most effective if your garden is isolated from others, so that the pests can't find an alternate source of food easily. It also works best for pests that feed on only one type of crop, such as Mexican bean beetles and squash bugs.

Skip-a-season planting may not reduce pest problems in an area where there are a lot of gardens or in a community garden setting.

There is a way to plant your crop and keep pests from eating it, too. Cover the crops with row covers—lightweight synthetic fabric that lets air and water through but keeps pests out. When properly used, row covers are an impenetrable barrier between insects and the crops they seek. To protect crops from pests, you need to cover the crop as soon as you plant it and securely weigh down the sides of the row covers by covering them with boards or burying them in the soil. Check under row covers from time to time to make sure that no insects have sneaked inside. Otherwise, they'll be free to feast to their heart's content.

There's another special barrier that's useful for starving cutworms, a pest that

Row cover isn't stopped by row covers. Cutworms are soil-dwelling insect larvae that like to chew on the stems of plants. Cutworms travel just below the surface of the soil searching for tender transplant stems. When they find a tasty stem, they dig in, sometimes cutting right through the stem and killing the plant.

To foil cutworms, just collect the cardboard tubes from rolls of toilet paper or paper towels and cut the tubes into 2-inch sections. Nestle one "cutworm collar" around the stem of each young vegetable and flower transplant (cutworms will attack a wide variety of plants) right after planting, pushing the collar about 1 inch into the soil. The collar will block the traveling pests and save your plants' stems from becoming cutworm snacks. V

Row cover

Boards keep edges secure-

You can protect crops like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower that don't need insect pollination by keeping them under a row cover from planting until harvest. This is a great way to prevent problems with imported cabbageworms or cabbage foopers that often plague these cabbage family crops. For crops like squash and melons that need insect pollination to produce a harvest, remove row covers when the flowers open.

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