Plan for Disease Prevention
Home gardens are often pestered with diseases that deplete yields at harvest.
Many gardeners have found that proper planning and following recommended
control practices keep vegetable losses to a minimum.
Select a well-drained garden site to prevent damping-off and other problems
associated with wet soil.
Organic matter (straw, leaves, crop residue) is essential to productive
soil, but can also increase the occurrence of southern blight. To avoid
a buildup of southern blight, bury organic matter below the expected root
zone of next year's crop. This should be done in the fall if possible.
Watering plants in the evening causes leaves to remain wet for an extended
period and increases the chance of leaf diseases. Plants watered in the
morning dry quickly, resulting in fewer problems. Drip irrigation also reduces
Grow vegetables in the same location only once every 3 to 5 years. If this
cannot be done, at least plan your garden so that you don't grow vegetables
of the same family group in the same area season after season. Family groups
are: (1) watermelon, cucumber, squash, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, pumpkin;
(2) cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, kale, turnip, mustard,
radish, collard; (3) Swiss chard, beets, spinach; (4) pepper, tomato, potato,
eggplant; (5) carrot, parsley, parsnips; (6) onions, garlic, leek; (7) sweet
corn; and (8) beans, peas and southern peas.
Certain vegetable diseases are seed transmitted. Don't save seed from the
garden for planting the following year.
A number of diseases attack vegetable foliage and fruit. Diseases caused
by fungi cannot be cured, so they must be prevented. When you see a fungus
problem, irreversible damage has already been done. Cloudy, damp mornings
encourage the growth of fungus spores. When such conditions exist, you may
want to follow a preventive spray schedule or remove contaminated plants.¶