Keep down pests and diseases with good garden hygiene
Just as many gardening issues don't involve rocket science, they do require little thought in practising good garden hygiene which will be beneficial in reducing pests and diseases.
So what does garden hygiene involve?
Clearing up and removing all your dead and rotting plant material which you will find is a breeding ground for bacteria of all sorts as well as fungal spores and all the grubs, bugs and pests wishing to use your garden for overwintering.
So prune all your damaged and/or dead shrubs and trees, making sure that you burn anything at all which is diseased. If possible shred disease free twigs and leaves and add them to your compost heap.
Many gardeners don’t think that diseases can be spread by their tools but they can and are, so make sure your pruner blades are kept clean after use.
If your compost heap is accessible (not enclosed by wire, wood etc.) then you may find it will be used as a place for hedgehogs to hibernate over the winter time. If you are lucky enough to have a family of these on your plot you will know that they just love to hoover up your bugs, grubs and slugs at night.
Try and keep your plot or garden free from badgers because they eat the hedgehogs!!
Keep your garden free from pests
If possible we should limit the use of chemicals in our gardens and introduce a balanced eco-system with a wide range of beneficial insects. This is easy but takes a little time because we also need to introduce plants and flowers which these beneficial insects like best – ladybirds which eat aphids for instance.
In order to help ourselves and our plants, flowers, shrubs and vegetables alike, we should practice good garden hygiene, and when buying any new plants we should check they have no inherent virus or are mites.
If you have fruit trees you can leave the windfalls on the ground to feed the wasps. You may not like wasps but they are very valuable predators of caterpillars, aphids and grubs