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57 Ways To Protect Your Home Environment (and Yourself)
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3. Prevent Insect, Disease, and Weed Problems in the Garden

seed packets

No garden this side of Eden is going to be entirely pest-free. But you can reduce the risk of insect, disease, and weed problems if you take a few steps. For instance, choose a location with 8 to 10 hours of sunlight per day. This aids the growth of most vegetable crops. It also speeds the evaporation of water from plant surfaces, reducing the risk of disease.

Gardeners are generally encouraged not to save their own seed but to purchase seeds from reputable seed dealers. Select varieties that have a built-in resistance to disease and certain insect pests. Also, use disease-free materials. All planting material should be healthy and free of yellowing and brown or black spots, and should not be stunted or show poor development.

Rotate among major vegetable groups
Don’t plant any crop from the same group of vegetables in the same portion of your garden more than once every three or four years. Rotate your crops. Certain diseases survive the winter on crop debris and may build up over time.
testing soil

Don’t underfertilize or overfertilize your plants. To determine the amounts and availability of nutrients in your garden, have the soil tested. For information on how to do this, contact your local U of I Extension office.

proper pH for growing vegetables
Maintain proper soil pH. A soil that is slightly acidic to neutral, 6.0 to 6.9, is best for growing most vegetables. If your soil test indicates that the soil is more acidic than it should be, apply the recommended amount of limestone. If your soil is too alkaline, add sulphur.

Wait to sow seeds until the soil has warmed, because young plants grow faster and often escape infection. Also, plant vegetables at recommended spacings to allow the air and sun to dry off the lower foliage and, therefore, reduce relative humidity around the plants. Stalking, caging, trellising, and pruning plants also provide more air circulation.

Plant in well-drained soil. In heavy or poorly drained soils, try planting on ridges, hills, or in raised beds to prevent seedling blights, root rots, or foliage diseases in plants that contact damp soil. Adding organic matter to the soil will help to loosen poorly drained clay soils.
green pepper

Water the soil thoroughly by adding an inch of water per week when there is not sufficient rainfall. If plants suffer from too much or too little water, they will be less vigorous and more susceptible to problems.

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