Now that it is truly winter as you go through your seed catalogs, you might want to start planning next year’s garden with your past pest issues in mind.
So first of all, think about what your top garden pests were in 2018. Did you have aphids in your vegetables? Worms in your apples? Leaf miners in leafy vegetables? Squash bugs causing squash plants to collapse? Have you noticed a decline in your tomato plants that can be caused by several different reasons?
Anticipate, start planning the design of your garden. For soil pests such as soil diseases that attack the roots of tomatoes, peppers and other plants, and for insects that overwinter in the soil such as leafminer pupae, plan your garden layout to rotate groups of similar plants in what I would like to call fresh soil every year.
In 2019, plant your cabbage crops like broccoli and cabbage where you had your tomatoes or peppers last year. And for legumes in 2019, things like your beans and peas, plant the ones where you had your squash last year, and so on. What you’re doing here is putting different types of plants in the soil from previous years and then reducing overwintering pest populations that can attack that group of plants.
Use the winter months to educate yourself on how to manage pest problems in your garden. The USU Extension Utah Pest website has plenty of pest fact sheets, how-to videos, vegetable and fruit pest guides, and more. Pest Notices are user-friendly newsletters that are emailed to you throughout the gardening season with tips on pest identification and management.
So enjoy your winter and garden planning and have a very happy holiday season!