Protecting new vegetable transplants in the garden can be very challenging for most gardeners.
Continue below for a few tips that will make transplanting vegetables more successful:
- Create A Collar: A collar can be made from a bottomless plastic cup or a waxed cardboard carton to protect transplant from cutworms. The collar should extend one inch above and below the surface of the ground.
- Row covers can be placed at planting to keep insects out. Remember to leave plenty of excess material for the growing vegetable plants. Remove the row cover when plants that need bees for pollination begin to flower.
- Make sure to plants stay in a continuously growing state and in a state of good health by supplying appropriate amounts of water and fertilizer. A healthy plant is more than likely going to survive an insect attack than a sick plant. However, too much fertilizer can cause plants to be more inviting to aphids and whiteflies.
- Monitor or scout the garden twice weekly for pest problems. This means inspecting the vegetable plants from both the upper and lower foliage to the soil level. It is best to keep a record book on pest problems and the performance of different varieties. Also include photographs of insects, diseases and beneficial insects. Be sure to correctly identify the insects.
- The ability to identify beneficial insects of the garden is important (praying mantis, spiders, big-eyed bugs/assassin bugs, lady beetles, and all wasps). Plant flowers in the vegetable garden that provides nectar and pollen which will attract beneficial insects.
- Most large insects like caterpillars can be removed by hand and destroyed.
- Watch for disease symptoms early and remove any diseased leaves or plants to the prevent problem from spreading. Most plants that produce fruits, pods, or ears can stand up to 20 percent loss of leaves without loss of potential yields. Do not panic and start spraying at the first sign of leaf feeding or a sick looking plant. Call or visit your local University of Florida Extension Service for recommendations on controlling any vegetable insect or disease problem.
By Eddie Powell