Consider how can prior and current crops affect the future. What actions can be taken to ensure a successful garden in the future? Understand that pests from prior gardens often show up in future gardens.
If weeds in a garden got out of control in the past, a gardener should expect those seeds to show up in the future and to prepare accordingly. The combination of good weed management and vigorous crop growth can greatly reduce weed pressure on a garden.
To reduce the chances of garden plants getting diseases, it is important to rotate plants from season to season and from year to year by using unrelated plants. When rotating to unrelated plants, the disease cycle may be broken, which can lead to healthier crops and better yields. The same is true for insect pests. This is particularly true for insect pests that feed on roots or that reside in the soil.
Understanding the past, present and future can significantly affect crop success at any scale. Large commercial farms commonly use these principles and so can the smallest garden benefit as well.
An effective way to prepare for a successful future is to understand variables that one will encounter in the future. For example, a soil sample can be taken to determine the pH and nutrients that are present, and which nutrients and how much may be needed for future crops. Soil pH is an important variable as it can affect the availability of nutrients that can be taken up by the plants. If the soil pH is below 5.5, lime can be added, as determined by the soil sample results, to raise the pH to around 6.0. The addition of lime is best up to three months prior to planting and can affect soil pH for up to several years.
Other variables to consider are the seasonal weeds, pests, and pathogens one might expect to see. Preventing these problems in the first place is always better than merely reacting to the problems after they have occurred. If there are known or expected problems that occur seasonally, consider your options to effectively and sustainably prevent these problems. A concept that many agriculturalists use is integrated pest management, or IPM. The goal of integrated pest management is to identify and understand a problem and use multiple strategies to sustainably control or prevent these problems from occurring.
Think about your future gardening goals and plan accordingly.