You have worked so hard to raise your vegetables from seed and amend your garden. The last thing you want or need is some sort of a pest coming and destroying all your hard work. There are some common pests that plague almost every garden. Lets learn what we can do to stop them from damaging our precious crops.
Let's first identify the most common garden pests. These pests are as follows in no particular order. Aphids, Whitefly, Spider Mites, Caterpillars, Cutworms, Cabbage Loopers, Horn Worms, Japanese Beetles, Squirrels, Chipmunks, and Birds. All of these insects and animals can do serious damage to a garden. In some instances this damage can happen overnight. So being prepared and taking preventative steps to control is the first line of defense. There are many ways to deter and/or kill these pests but some measures are specific to each variety of pest. All of these options will be covered. Additionally, all modes of control covered will be natural or organic. There are many heavy duty pesticides out there but most home gardeners are concerned over these pestecides and often times choose to garden at home to avoid them.
Many general use insecticides or pesticides are out there and will control a myriad of insects. Neem Oil, Safer Soap, Pyrethrum, Hot Pepper Wax, and Azadirachtin are all great products that can be used on various insects. Safer Soap and Pyrethrum can kill soft body insects ( Aphids, Whitefly, Spider Mites ) on contact while Neem Oil Azadirachtin and Hot Pepper Wax work better as preventatives. These products have the ability to kill insects but it takes time to be effective. They are best used before you have an insect problem to prevent infestations from happening. If you are having a problem with caterpillars, worms, loopers, etc. the best product to use is BT ( Bacillus Thuringiensis ). This product, BT, is a bacteria that becomes active inside the insect once it eats the plant sprayed with the solution. It makes holes in the insects gut and from there reproduces inside the insect body killing it within a few days. Other useful ways to control insects include companion planting, bait traps, insect netting, and even beneficial predator insects. These predator insects include Ladybugs and Praying Mantis.
To control birds, squirrels, other rodents, and deer sometimes a fence or simple netting will suffice. If this still doesn't stop them you may have to resort to spraying the plants with Hot Pepper Wax or Putrid Egg to deter them from eating your crops. Many gardeners will also use cougar or coyote urine around the garden to keep animals away. If you have a dog this could serve the same purpose. Animal hair is also another item that can help. When it comes to mammals and birds most gardeners prefer methods that are the least invasive to the animals. Scarecrows and owl decoys are also easy ways to stop large pests from coming into the garden. Just remember to move them periodically or the animals will realize they are not real and begin entering the garden.
Good luck out there keeping your garden safe!