There are good nematodes and then there's root knot nematodes(RNT). About this time of year in central Alabama you should look over your garden. Here's how I knew where to look in my garden. Looking at my garden last year I noticed that the corn and okra was pretty tall and pumping out some groceries. On the same row it is like the family tree for both of them started spitting out short children. So I go to the okra/corn/peppers or what ever and start pulling up the plants. Looking at the roots I notice little round balls (knots) all over them. The yield of these infected plants are reduced by at least 70 percent or more.
RNT are microscopic. They enter a plant through the roots and there they rob the host plant from receiving the things it needs to be healthy. Much like parasites in animals. One of the ways a garden can get infected is when you buy plants and put in there. They could be in the soil of that plant. I started noticing this problem about 3 or 4 years ago. I knew if I ever got to the place where I relied on my garden for a food source we would be in a hurt. This is the year we chose to address the problem.
HOW TO CURE;
From what I came up with there are three methods to rid one's garden of this parasite.
SOLARIZATION; Take plastic and cover the area for at least 6 weeks when the temperatures are at least 90 degrees with direct sunlight a large part of the day. This will superheat the soil. For me - not feasible.
MUSTARD PLANTS: Plant your garden in mustard $$$ When the temperature warms up in the spring turn the mustard plants under and let them decompose. This method is supposed to release some toxins into the soil that are fatal to nematodes - both good and bad.
STARVE THEM: This is almost a no brainer. This method is applied simply by not planting anything for a year. When you see grass starting to come up take the tractor and turn it under. I've seen cotton farmers do it around here when I was growing up.
I have applied the last two. This winter I had mustard and this summer I didn't plant anything. I'll try to give yall an update about this time next year if I'm still around and all is functional.
Thanks dude.Very helpful and very well explained by you