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Saturday, September 30, 2017

6 Principles For Managing Pests and Diseases in A Vegetable Garden

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6 Principles For Managing Pests and Diseases in A Vegetable Garden

Pests and Diseases will show up in your garden. They can't be stopped.  What you can do is reduce damage and manage the problems. All treatments don't work equally in our gardens. What works in one garden zone my not work as well in another zone or it may not work at all.  Don't be fooled into thinking companion planting is the cure for all, it can help. Or that the word organic is magical. It is important to start with the least potent treatment for pests and diseases. Work your way up from there, until you find something that works in your own garden. The videos use aphids, slugs and powdery mildew to highlight these six principles.

First Principle:
Check your plants and garden two or three times a week and look for signs of pests and diseases. Learn what comes to your garden. It will have a pattern. If you are not checking several times a week... problems will take hold quickly. They always do. Pests and diseases are common.

Second Principle:
Any time you introduce a new spray to your garden, be it premade or homemade... TEST SPRAY. Sprays can damage and are influenced by weather conditions. A spray that did not damage when the temperatures were in the 70's, may damage in the 90's. Different plants have different tolerances so you have to test spray on different plant types. Spray a few leaves and wait 48 hours and look for damage. If there is no damage... fully spray your plants. Typically, you should not spray in full sun or when temperatures are over 90 degrees unless you are fully comfortable with the spray. During high temperature months, spray in the evening.

Third Principle:
Follow a spraying and treatment routine. It is important to pick your products and spray routinely to stop pests and diseases in your garden. If you decide to spray weekly. Spray weekly. If you decide to spray every two weeks... stick with your plan. This works extremely well for prevention. If you are treating an active problem you may have to spray every two days over a week on ten days. This is typically done to stop an entire life cycle for insects. Dose one kills off the living insects. Following doses kill off hatching eggs. This holds true for disease too as many release spores. Pick a plan and follow it.

Fourth Principle:
Stay vigilant with the first principle. Take the time to watch a learn what is coming to your garden over an entire season. The key to treating and reducing damage is to start treatments as early as possible. Remove leaves, start sprays and begin maintenance as soon as possible. It may take a few years to learn about the pests and diseases that come to your garden.

Fifth Principle:
Remove diseased leaves immediately and DO NOT compost them. Bag infected leaves and throw them a way. Pests and disease can live in compost. A process known as hot composting can kill diseases, spores and eggs. However, most of our compost piles are simple cold composting. Don't take a chance. Very little compost is made from the infected leaves and plants you remove. Just throw them away.

Sixth Principle:
You won't be able to remember everything after the slumber of winter. Keep a journal and make immediate entries when each pest and disease shows up in your garden. As I said a pattern will show up year after year. Start prevention spraying 2-4 weeks week before the problems arrive based on your data. This is the best way to treat and manage problems in your garden. Keep track of what you spray and how you spray. Adjust accordingly and use the journal entries for next year's plan.

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