Trick to Prevent Insect Damage

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I didn’t realize until I was looking up gardening holidays that April 14 is National Gardening Day. In our area, this day is actually a great time to start planting tomatoes, peppers, squash and many other summer crops. The soil should be warmed to about 65 degrees or more so the roots of these tropical plants should be happy growing in this warm soil.

A trick I’ve learned over the years that helps prevent insect damage to crops like eggplant from flea beetle or squash from vine borers and squash bugs is to cover the plants with a tightly woven row cover from the time they are planted until they begin to flower. The cover will need to be removed as soon as the flower buds appear or the insects won’t be able to get to the flowers to pollenate them. This will at least give the plants a chance to set at least one set of fruit before the insects can take them out.

Having the vegetable garden near a flower bed will help draw in the pollinators and other beneficial insects to help keep insect pests under control.