Spring brings juicy fresh strawberries that grow from May to June and are
filled with vitamin C, fiber, iron, potassium and antioxidants. If you are a
home gardener and look forward to fresh strawberries, these tips will help you
keep your plants pest free.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson adds, "Keep soil pH between 5.5 and 6.5 to keep strawberry plants healthy."
Spot Pests that Feed on Fresh Strawberry Plants
Use Plants that Deter Pests
A simple defense against pests is to plant marigolds around the garden. The roots of a marigold release a chemical that kills nematodes. Also, planting several different kinds of herbs in your garden will keep pests from detecting
the smell of the strawberry plants that attract them. Try planting mint, basil, lemon geraniums, garlic or onions for best results. Plant flowers to bring insects to your garden that prey on the pests such as ladybugs, spiders,
lacewings and tiny parasitic wasps.
TIP: Susan suggests,
"Grow garlic and chives with your strawberries to keep pests away."
Prevent Birds from Invading
Carefully select the healthiest strawberry plants and try to choose hardy varieties. If you do encounter a pest problem, use organic pest control instead of chemical pesticides. A scarecrow is a good way to keep birds away from your strawberries. Also, try tying plastic grocery bags to stakes around your garden. The rustling sound scares the birds. Another deterrent is to paint stones and rocks red and place them around the strawberry plants, which will confuse and frustrate birds who can't visually distinguish one from the other.
Use Organic Pest Control
Organic methods of pest control includes hot pepper spray, rotten eggs, blood meal, castor oil, orange peel, soap and human hair. To keep deer away from your fresh strawberries put soap or human hair in mesh bag and hang it from a tree branch a deer height. Use blood meal mixed in a gallon of water or an Epsom salt spray to stop rabbits from eating young strawberry plants. Get rid of insects by spraying the garden with 4 tablespoons of dish soap in 1 gallon of water. Slugs find beer irresistible. Dig a hole near your fresh strawberry plants. Take a container and put it in the hole. The container rim should be level with the soil surface. Fill the container with beer. The slugs will fall
into the container and drown in the beer. Empty the container and refill it every day until you no longer find slugs in the beer.
Create Pest Barriers
Slugs are a major problem in the garden. Copper strips placed around the perimeter of the garden stops slugs from entering. The copper should stand several inches high and an inch deep into the ground.
Diatomaceous earth is a gritty white powder that pierces the skin of soft bodied pests such as slugs, mites and aphids. Aphids can easily be knocked off plants with a steady stream of water from the hose.
Floating row covers will also keep pests
off your fresh strawberries. They are made of a lightweight fabric that is draped over the plants. Sunlight, rain and fresh air can all penetrate the cover. Secure the floating cover to the ground with stakes, rocks or bricks to
prevent flying insects from getting to your plants. You need to uncover your strawberry plants for at least 2 hours a day to allow the bees to pollinate them.
TIP: Susan recommends, "Keep weeds out of the
strawberry patch, as they attract pests."
Originally posted on: Do It Yourself