Many dangers face your garden that you may not even notice until it’s too late; the most common problems are animals, weather, and disease. Luckily there are solutions to prevent your garden’s demise.

Animals

Sometimes in order to properly keep animals out you must first determine the type of critter that is sneaking a meal. Different animals have different ways of being deterred.

If you have rabbits, a rabbit guard fence or regular welded wire fence a few feet tall would do the trick; remember to bury the fence about 10” below the surface to prevent rabbits or groundhogs from burrowing under the fence. Hex netting also works really well as even small animals can’t wiggle through the hex mesh. Another method is to grow your vegetables on raised beds or window boxes to keep your goods out of reach.

                        

If you live by woods, chances are high that you have a deer problem. Since deer are obviously much larger than rabbits you should use a 4 – 8’ high hardware cloth or steel hex wire fence.

              

If you grow a lot of berries, then birds are probably taking a few without asking. With birds it is generally best to scare them either with a scarecrow or a decoy hawk. You could also use plastic spikes along your roof or fence to humanely make the birds uncomfortable.

                       

New plants naturally give off micronutrients that animals can smell and it entices them to come eat. One of the best things you can do is have a fence or a raised bed around your garden from day 1 so that the culprits don’t find a food source in the first place.

A few other things you could do is cover compost containers and bring outside pet bowels inside at night so raccoons or possums can’t get into them. You could also keep the edges of your yard a bit untrimmed or untidy so that pests can find food elsewhere and not go looking in your garden for nutrients.


Weather

Outdoor gardens are subjected to the change of seasons if they are year-round and must endure both frost and heat.The first thing to do is to research the type of plants you are growing because different kinds have different freezing temperatures. Saving your garden from frost is as simple as covering it before the frost hits. You could use a plastic or cloth cover such as a fleecemesh, or PE; you could even use bed sheets, towels, or blankets. Plastic covers are great for the rain since it doesn’t absorb water, and cloth covers are good for air insulation. If you have a raised planter one of the most efficient covers is the cold frame which is protective against both rain and frost.

                      

Gardens in the summer can suffer from heat stress which can dry out roots and kill your plants. To avoid this, you should plant them deep in the ground where they can stay cool and be sure to water your seedlings in the morning before it gets too warm. A shade cover will also help protect hot plants from the sun; you don’t want to completely cover them otherwise they won’t have good insulation.

                       

Disease

Another thing that can threaten your garden is disease. Plants can get sick through the soil, but can be remedied with a milk and water mixture (about 30% m, 70% w); spray it on the surface of the leaves in the mornings until the affected area is clear. If the plant is too far gone then it would be best to remove the sick plants from your garden all together.

The main way dirt gets soiled is from improper irrigation caused by lack of or over watering. Gardens can’t survive without water, that’s common knowledge, so you must develop a watering plan before you even start. One of the best ways to delegate is to use drip lines so that your plants get enough water without risk of drowning.

     

It is always a good idea to put mulch around the base of your plants to help prevent weeds and bacteria from reaching the healthy leaves. Mulch also helps retain water so your little guys won’t dry out. You can use straw, plastic, compost, or something else, the choice is yours so long as you do use mulch.

                                     

Regularly inspect the leaves for insect damage as some insects carry infection and the damage can allow airborne diseases to sweep in and kill your plant.

                 

Washing and disinfecting your garden tools is also a good idea; if you do have infected soil it’s best not to carry particles from one end of your garden to the other.

It can be hard for beginners to keep track of all you have to do to take care of your garden, but you’ll become a pro through trail and error. Keeping your garden safe from unwanted animals, harsh weather, and infectous diseases will lead to a prosperous result that will be well worth the effort!

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