Damage from plant diseases varies with the crop, cultivar, season, weather conditions, location and air drainage of the garden, cultural practices, availability of disease inoculum, soil pH, and balance of nutrients.

The most practical way to control certain plant diseases is to use resistant or tolerant cultivars when available.

There are other steps you can take to avoid diseases in your vegetable garden. To begin, thoroughly clean up plant refuse in and around the garden in the fall and compost only disease-free refuse—burning, burying or bagging diseased refuse. Turning the soil in fall will also help. Finally, if you avoid bringing in diseased plants or using your own "saved seed," you can help prevent disease.

Avoid damping-off of seedlings by seeding in pasteurized soil or other growing mixture.

If you choose to spray potato and tomato plants with a labeled fungicide, do so once each week after the plants are approximately 12 inches tall to reduce losses from leaf spots and late blight. This treatment will also control anthracnose fruit spot on tomato. You should also try to pick off and destroy the leaves as soon as spots occur. This involves diligence!

You can also control certain diseases of bean, beet, cabbage, carrot, celery, cucumber, lettuce, melon, onion, pea, pumpkin and squash by using fungicides on soil, seed or foliage, depending on the vegetable crop.

Non-stressed plants are less susceptible to disease. A soil pH of around 6.5, a high level of organic matter, and an adequate, balanced supply of nutrients will ensure vigorous, productive plants—plants that are better prepared to resist disease.

Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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