During summer plant diseases come to life in the vegetable garden as temperatures rise and humidity increases. Take a stand with these preventive tips before fungi and bacteria get the better of your fruits and vegetables.
Start with Healthy Plants
All gardeners want to save sad-looking plants at garden centers. We can’t help ourselves. But it is best to just keep on walking. Only select robust plants with no signs of disease or stress.
Grow in the Right Conditions
Plants growing in locations where they are happy are less susceptible to diseases. Most edibles require full sun (6 to 8 hours) and well-draining, hummus-rich soil. Good air circulation is also necessary to keep fungi and bacteria from flourishing.
Many diseases thrive in moist conditions so try to keep the foliage dry when you water. Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation or a watering wand to direct the moisture straight to the soil. Also, if you water in the morning the sun will quickly dry the leaves and stems that do get wet.
Keep your Garden Clean
Discard infected foliage and plants in the trash rather than the compost bin to prevent diseases from carrying over to the next growing season. It is also a good idea to rotate crops so you aren’t planting the same vegetable in the same spot every year.
Spray at the First Sign of Trouble
Apply fungicide as soon as you see a problem developing. For the least environmental impact choose an earth-friendly product and only spray where the issue exists. Saturate the tops and bottoms of leaves, stems and the ground around the plant.