Preventing Spider Mites?
Hello! This is my first time posting on this forum, although I used it as a resource throughout last summer. Last year was my first time with a real garden, with mixed results. I had a rather nice flowerbed that was plagued by a bulb-hungry chipmunk. In addition I planted some fruits and vegetables in large pots. My peppers did wonderfully! I had tomatoes and watermelons that I think would have done very well if it wasn't for the dreaded SPIDER MITES. My watermelon plant exploded all over my backyard and was quite beautiful, but suddenly started looking very dried out. Once I realized what the problem was, the infestation had already gotten very bad and I decided not to risk the rest of my garden and killed the whole plant. Unfortunately, I didn't act quickly enough and my tomato plants also got infested. It was a battle the whole summer and they only produced a handful of very sad looking fruits before the season ended.
This year I hope to give it another shot with both the tomatoes and the watermelon and I was wondering, are there steps I can take this year to prevent/control possible spider mite outbreaks? Should I throw out the soil in the pots from last year and start fresh? Are there companion plants I can use? I'm very new to gardening, so all advice is appreciated!