When it comes to fighting plant enemies, there are two different types of implementations:
(1) Any implementation that gives a mechanical protection from invaders to your plant
(2) Any type of implementation that will apply a chemical to your plants such as an insecticide or a repellent of some sorts, also fungicides.
In this article we will cover the mechanical solutions for protecting your garden and plants from common enemies.
On the mechanical side of the solution, the covered frame is the most basic and the most effective with regards to it’s ease of use. To protect your garden, your basic covered frame will consist of a wooden box covered with a protecting covering such as a mosquito wire or netting, some people use glass or a protective cloth. This increases the cost and the weight of the box significantly however it also traps heat for the plant and protects it from the cold which has the advantage of bearing fruit earlier than it might otherwise. An example of the fruit-bearing plants that would benefit from this are: melons, cucumbers and any vine-type vegetables.
Another mechanical method for protecting such plants as tomatoes, cabbages, kale or peppers from the cut-worm would be plant collars. Plant collars stand several inches high and are meant to be placed around the stem of the plant and penetrate about an inch into the soil for not only a firm setting but also to better protection to keep anything from crawling up the stem from the ground. As you might imagine, a collar will have to be built from a stiff and sturdy substance. Typical materials would be: tar paper, tin or cardboard.
When it comes to harvesting implements, not a lot are used on the small garden. Such tools as the hoe as well as the spade are the ideal tools for the amateur or small-garden gardener. The reason for this is that as you get into larger tools with which to protect your garden, your begin to require much larger distances and additional horse-power (literally and figuratively) to run operate them. Such tools as plows, tractors, roto-tillers and the like are practical if you have 40 acres in Nebraska but not if your trying to protect your families garden in your sub-urban backyard of any-town, USA. Your double wheel hoe can be used to loosen such vegetables as onions, beets and turnips from the soil. It can also be used to cut spinach. In order to aid in harvesting your deeper-growing vegetables such as; carrots, potatoes and parsnips, you can use a hand-plow and run it closely on either side of the row in which your harvesting. If you have a fruit tree or two in your backyard consider yourself very lucky in that not only can you enjoy delicious fruit during the correct seasons but you will always be the center of popularity on those hot summer days when neighbors crave fresh sweet fruit. A fruit picker with wire fingers on it will help gather your sweet treasure if you attach it to the end of a long handle and use it to reach those braches which are higher up and out of reach of the local neighborhood fruit-imps.
Pruning is another class of mechanical garden implement which we haven’t yet discussed. One really only needs two tools to properly carry out an effective pruning campaign; a clean and sharp jack-knife and a sturdy pair of pruning sheers will take care of any pruning task you might have. Always make sure to clean your tools after pruning and make sure to sharpen when necessary, pruning with dull tools is like trying to cut down a tree with a baseball bat.
AS a final note, always research the quality of the tools which you plan to purchase and make sure to learn the proper use, storage and maintenance of these tools. Like anything, they work better when properly cared for and because you’re working with sharp and pointy objects, great care should always be used.
Eric Seminara runs The Online Resource for Compost Gardens