Prevention is better than cure:
Take resort to healthy gardening and horticultural practices. Propagate new plants with disease-free plants only. Prune, burn or destroy the diseased parts of the plants. Keep in mind that adaptive plants are less susceptible to diseases.
Prevent soil-borne fungal, bacterial or viral diseases by exposing soil to solar rays in summer - soil sterilization. This is an excellent way of killing the weeds too.
For vegetable and flower crops, buy disease-resistant varieties and hybrid seeds from Ugaoo.com.
Cultural control measures of pests and diseases:
- Destroy the hiding places of pests, by removing weeds and wild plants which may act as hosts for a pest or illness.
- To keep the pest population low, ensure crop rotation.
- Using farmyard manure and compost in well-decomposed form; otherwise, these components would attract white ants, black ants, and other insect pests.
- Check on drainage; waterlogging encourages fungal diseases. Grow the seedlings in a raised seedbed with good drainage; avoid water stagnation and prevent ‘damping off’ disease of seedlings. Read about how to fix the garden drainage easily.
- Thinning out overcrowded plants eliminates the chance of growth pest infestation.
Mechanical control of pests and diseases:
- Hand remove insects like mealy bugs, caterpillars, and beetles, and other pests like snails and slugs.
- Remove egg clusters of bugs by rubbing them off with a toothbrush dipped in methylated spirit.
- Remove affected branches or shoots, leaves or flowers, as needed.
- Remove affected plants to prevent spreading of diseases from one plant to another.
Use of traps for pest control:
- Sticky traps: Place bright yellow sticky paper traps in the garden to attract small flying insects like thrips, whitefly, aphids, etc.
- Pheromone traps: It is a type of insect trap that uses pheromones to lure insects. Sex pheromones and aggregating pheromones are the most common types used.
- Light traps: It is a device used at night in the field to collect moths and other flying insect pests.
- Apart from these control measures, it is advisable to use natural homemade pesticides and insecticides, before opting for lethal chemicals.