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Vegetable Gardening - Disease Control Tips

Jun 5, 2008
Keeping your vegetables disease free is an ongoing effort. But that chore is made easier when you employ a broad-based effort that doesn't rely solely on one method.

Selecting proper seed and preparing the soil are a good beginning. Select healthy plants if you are planning to transplant. This keeps disease from being introduced and multiplying. Uproot diseased plants to prevent further infection.

Watering early in the day is usually the most appropriate time. Leaves then have time to dry before overnight temperatures settle in. The spread of disease can be influenced by your watering practices. If water splashes off one diseased plant onto another plant, then the disease plant may infect the healthy plant. Rainfall can produce the similar situation. Be sure to space your plants out.

Also, viruses can be spread by insects who carry them from one plant to the next. Controlling the insect population benefits you exponentially. There are also ways that gardeners and animals can spread disease. Gardeners gloves and the legs of rabbits can carry tobacco mosaic virus, for example.

Weeding your garden can also lower chances of disease. Many organisms thrive on weeds and will then enjoy your vegetables. These organisms can be transported by water movement, wind, and other vehicles.

Being able to recognize the signs of various diseases, many of which are distinctive to a particular vegetable, can help control them.

When the out edges of lettuce touch the ground, lettuce mold can appear as a wet rot. The Sclerotinia mold is white and Botrytis mold is gray. The problem can be contained by removing the mold by extracting infected sections, or an entire plant.

Leafy vegetables commonly encounter spinach mosaic virus as well. In this case, leaves become mottled, and may later turn yellow. The plant appears wilted and stunted. Choosing resistant varieties can eliminate this problem altogether.

Asparagus may suffer from wilt or rot caused by the Fusarium. The spears look spindly and shoots may become yellow. The roots may rot and become discolored. Thinning the crop to eliminated infected plants is desired. Rust is another common asparagus problem, caused by the Puccinia fungus. It appears as red spots on the spears or shoots. The fungus may even survive the winter. Avoid excess watering to keep it at bay.

Leaf spots, blight and other conditions affect tomatoes. They'll usually appear by mid-August, especially if the summer has been cool. Some soil fungi affect tomatoes in particular. Nearby walnut trees can produce a toxin that is harmful, where the roots carry it into the soil. Look out for dark concentric rings on leaves. Keeping the leaves from being wet at night will help reduce these problems.

You will optimize your chances of a healthy, abundant crop if you can recognize and treat the signs of disease in the early stages.
About the Author
Are you planning on growing vegetables this year? Plan your vegetable garden layout before you start planting. Learn how to plan your garden and get my free reports on composting, pest control and mulching at http://www.vegetablegardeners.com
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