6. Clear your fields, rotate your crops
Clearing out spent debris after harvest will significantly reduce the risk of pests attacking your crops next season, Pleasant says. Pests will often make themselves at home in dead stalks, leaves and other debris and attack new crops when they are planted the following season.
So, after harvesting that summer squash, take time to remove debris from your garden plot to oust any lingering pests. For best results, put your yard debris in a compost pile – which will close the loop on your garden waste and exterminate pests for good, Pleasant says.
“These creatures do not persist in the wild world of a compost heap,” she says with a laugh. If you don’t have a compost pile, check out these tips for starting one today, or use Earth911 to track down a yard waste recycling solution near you.
Rotating crops each season is also a surefire way to keep pests from building up. “Crop rotation” may sound like a fancy term, but it basically means planting crops in a different place in your garden each year. Moving crops to different areas each season not only helps stave off pests, but also reduces the risk of soil-borne diseases and nutritional depletion affecting your crops, Pleasant says.