As many gardeners could tell you, Florida’s climate is very welcoming to pests, which can make gardening a challenge. However, there are a few tricks that can help you avoid resorting to harsh chemicals:
Your presence is first and foremost. Check your plants regularly so you can detect and treat those early warning signs. Learn to detect when your plants are thirsty or low on nutrients. The healthier the plant, the more ability it will have to ward off pests and disease.
Look for pest-resistant varieties of your favorite plants
Know your good bugs from your bad bugs and allow the good ones, like ladybird beetles, lacewings, praying mantids, ant lions, hover flies, assassin bugs, predator wasps, dragonflies, and spiders to do their thing. Birds and frogs can help reduce pests too!
If you determine that pests are causing damage, deter or remove them by hand, with natural products like water, soaps or oil sprays, or natural odors.
For tough pests, consider planting a “sacrificial plant” that attracts them away from your cash crops.
Take steps to manage your soil. Rotating crops, solarizing, or adding organic matter can help keep soils healthy and discourage pests like nematodes.