Tips for Preventing Garden Pests

Amidst the joy of budding blooms and verdant foliage, lurks the perennial challenge of deer and pests wreaking havoc on cherished plants. However, with a bit of foresight and strategic planning, you can safeguard your garden oasis.

Believe us. We grow in a field previously used as a deer food lot, which is surrounded by forest. Although we regularly see deer and other animals, we rarely have any problems with animals damaging our crops.

Here are four effective strategies for deer and pest prevention we’ve found:

Deer Deterence

Deer possess a voracious appetite for tender shoots and foliage, making them formidable adversaries in the garden. We built a deer fence around our field that’s 8 feet tall to thwart their graceful leaps, and it’s firmly anchored to the ground with chicken wire to prevent sneaky intrusions.

Plant Selection

If you can’t put up a fence, choose plant varieties that are less palatable to deer and pests. While no plant is entirely immune, deer tend to avoid plants with strong scents, fuzzy textures, or prickly foliage, so consider species like lavender, salvia, and marigolds. We also listen to Mother Nature. If we struggle with a certain crop year after year (eh hem, cucumbers) because of a pest (eh hem, cucumber beetles), we cut it out of our rotation and focus on plants we’re better suited to grow.

Vigilant Monitoring

Regularly inspect your garden for signs of deer browsing or pest infestation and take action. Once we start seeing Japanese beetles on the zinnias, we use a jar filled with soapy water to handpick the beetles early in the morning before they become active. If we see a plant covered in aphids, we remove it and destroy it before they have an opportunity to spread.

Invite Beneficial Predators

Create a biodiverse habitat, so natural predators such as birds, ladybugs, and praying mantises establish residence in your garden. These voracious insectivores help keep pest populations in check, serving as nature’s pest control squad.

Filed under: Farm & Field, Green Thumb, Life, Meet Your Neighbors, News, People
Lauren Ketcham, owner of Down the Road Farm in New Lexington, Ohio, holding a colorful spray of Ranunculus flowers

By Lauren Ketcham

Lauren Ketcham has been growing specialty cut flowers at Down the Road Farm in New Lexington since 2013. You can find her and her sustainably grown flowers each week at the Lancaster Farmers Market. Visit Down The Road Farm to shop for 2024 Flower Bouquet Subscriptions or to learn more about having local flowers at your wedding or special event.