The Q&A Archives: Natural Pest and Disease Controls

Question: What are some non-chemical alternatives for control of tomato worms and other pests on tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and cucumbers?

Answer: Probably the most under-used method of controlling garden pests is picking the critters off your plants. Some gardeners have good luck with trap crops, or alternate crops, planted to attract the insects away from more desireable plants. Worms and beetles can be hand picked, or you can hose them off your plants when you see them. If you keep your garden free of weeds and debris (where insects like to breed and hide), you'll effectively reduce their populations. The best way to avoid diseases in the garden is to grow healthy plants. Make sure they're getting the amount of sunshine they require, enough elbow room to grow to their full potential, and ample water. Inspect your garden every day for signs of trouble and pinch or prune off any leaves or fruits that look sick so problems won't have an opportunity to spread. Given the correct growing conditions, and good air circulation all around, your plants shouldn't develop diseases.

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