By Albert Makendenge

During these uncertain times of limited social and economic activity brought upon by Covid19, backyard gardening definitely comes as a relief by giving people something to get busy with in their homes. Passionate gardeners will even be more relieved if their garden is clean and healthy and that is what this article is about.

The first step to keeping a pest and disease free garden is examining the plants or seeds carefully before buying. If there is any chance that some of them are infected then farmers have the opportunity to take them out before they even reach their garden.

Keeping an eye out for bugs is also very important. Viruses and bacteria often can only enter a plant through some sort of an opening and bug damage provides that. Some insects and pests actually act as transport for viruses (vectors), spreading them from one plant to the next. Hence farmers have got to identify theses quickly enough so that appropriate action is taken before any significant damage.

Another way to have healthy and productive plants in the garden is through cleaning up in the fall and ensuring that the plants are not crowded. It is always best to clean out (taking out dead leaves and debris for instance) the garden as this is an effective deterrent to disease and also controls the diseases already in the garden. Spacing plants as recommended avoids the rapid spread of diseases.

Plants can only be healthy when they are watered properly and farmers need to choose watering methods that limit moisture on the plant’s foliage. This is because many pathogens need water to move, grow. Therefore leaving the leaves moist renders them vulnerable to attacks.

Last but not least is the introduction of disease resistant varieties in the garden. These are plants that might get sick with a particular problem but eventually fighting it off instead of succumbing to it.

All it takes is consistency in practicing and applying these healthy gardening tips on a regular basis and backyard farmers will be well on their way to happy and successful gardening.

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