Cultivating Without Limits: 6 Biggest Threats to Your Garden and What You Can Do to Keep Them in Check

one of the threats to your garden is weedsGardening can be a very satisfying hobby to take up. In fact, people who garden have even been shown to live longer than those who don’t garden. Once you’ve tilled your soil and planted your vegetables, you may be waiting anxiously for green buds to begin breaking through the ground. But even when your veggies start growing, your work has just begun.

There can be a variety of threats to your garden that will result in all your hard work being destroyed. To make sure that you get the most out of your garden, you’ll want to be on the lookout for these six significant threats to your garden and how to avoid them or minimize their impacts.

1. Incorrect watering

While you know that plants need water, did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to water your garden? New gardeners often tend to overwater or underwater their plants, leaving them either drought-stricken or drowning. If you’re using a drip watering system, like those sold by Agron, you need to make sure that seedlings are planted right by the drip lines. Otherwise, their nascent root system won’t be long enough to reach the moist earth.

Overwatering in cool, cloudy weather can promote the growth of fungal diseases that can affect the root bed. Overwatering is something herbs are particularly sensitive to. Common signs of overwatering include plants that look wilted, even though the soil is wet, brown leaves, blisters or lesions on the plant (which can be a sign of edema), and yellow, dropping leaves.

2. Bugs

While many bugs are beneficial to your gardens, such as pollinators, destructive garden bugs like aphids, slugs, and cutworms can wreak havoc on your tender plants. If you have an organic garden and are choosing not to use pesticides, you will need to be twice as vigilant when it comes to protecting your plants.
What method you use to eradicate these common garden pests is mainly based on what kind of bug is destroying your veggies. Slugs, for example, are seen as tasty treats for birds of all types. If you’ve been discouraging birds from dropping into your garden in fear that they will dig up your tender seedlings, it’s time to encourage these beneficial predators back into your garden! Install a birdbath and watch your slug problem disappear overnight as they get all gobbled up.

Aphids can be overwhelming, but they can be removed with a strong spray of water, or repellent sprays applied directly to the stems. If your aphid issue is out of control, neem oil or insecticidal soap will quickly deliver you from your aphid-infested issues.

3. Soil issues

Not all dirt is created equal! Dirt is your plants’ source of food, and your garden won’t thrive without a rich, nutrient-filled base to grow in. Your veggies need moist, rich, well-drained soil that has loads of organic matter, like compost, or rotted manure. This will provide your veggies with enough nutrients to grow strong and produce large, healthy vegetables. Your soil’s pH and temperature are also critical. Depending on what you’re growing, you will need to monitor your soil’s pH levels and temperature to make sure that you are creating the most encouraging environment for your garden.

4. Animals

While beneficial predators may save your garden from bugs, many other animals see your garden exactly the same way you do: as a repository for tasty veggies! Unfortunately, we doubt you planted this garden to feed the wildlife!

Deer will commonly raid gardens to graze on the tender shoots and can quickly decimate a young garden. Deer are also impressive jumpers, which means that fencing will have to be at least 8 to 10 feet high, or you will need to use an electronic animal fence. If you’re willing to sacrifice a couple of plants for the cause, you can plant a border of tasty hosta (deer love hosta) and coat them in hot sauce. You can also purchase red fox urine to spray around your garden.

Rodents can also be a massive issue for gardens. Their digging can disturb the root system, and they often tunnel up under plants in search of seeds. To keep them out of your garden, use baited traps or live catch-and-release traps. We discourage the use of poison since other animals can eat it and it can also leach into the soil around your plants.

5. Weeds

It always seems that any weed will look twice as strong and healthy as your veggies! To help prevent weeds, you’ll want to take a multi-prong approach.  Your garden soil is chockful of weed seeds, it’s just a fact of life, but rooting around in the soil may actually stir up the dormant seeds and bring them to within the two inches of the surface of the earth (where they will germinate). Instead, only dig into the soil when necessary and then immediately mulch it or plant something.

As for mulching, mulch is extremely beneficial for your garden. It helps keep the soil moist and cool and also prevents weed seeds from germinating. To further prevent light from reaching the seeds, you can lay down a layer of cardboard or weed-blocking fabric, and then cover it with more attractive mulch. Replenish the mulch regularly to make sure it stays 2 inches deep.

6. Incorrect planting

There is a method for planting your garden that will give you best the chance of the most successful planting season. First, don’t crowd your plants or overplant. When starting your seedlings, wait until a few have sprouted and then keep only the strongest one, removing the others to give the strong plant room. Once they’ve hardened off and are ready to be planted outside, make sure they have adequate room to grow and not touch each other. This will also prevent the spread of disease if one plant becomes infected with a fungus or pest. Research the types of veggies you are planting to understand better how they thrive and how they should be planted to give them the best chance of success.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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