10 Easy Steps to Prevent Common Garden Diseases [fact sheet]

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1. Sanitation!

• Start with a clean planting site, free of last year’s crop debris. Debris from the previous season’s crops may harbor diseases, weeds and insects.

2. Purchase high quality plants and seeds

• Select plants with healthy-looking leaves and strong stems (avoid spindly plants).

• Purchase seeds and transplants only from reputable dealers.

• Avoid collecting seeds from diseased or unhealthy-looking plants (pathogens are often transmitted on or in seed).

3. Rotate crops

• Grow your crops in different parts of the garden each year. Be sure not to rotate crops with those in the same plant family (e.g., tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers; cabbage, broc coli, and cauliflower).

4. Avoid planting too early

• Plant growth may be slowed due to cold soil temperatures (slow-growing plants are more susceptible to attack by disease-causing organisms and insect pests).

5. Mulch

• Mulches prevent soil that may contain disease-causing organisms from splashing onto the plants, and also helps retain soil moisture.

6. Avoid overcrowding the plants

• Crowding creates a moist, humid environment that is favorable for disease development.

7. Water early in the day

• Plants that remain wet throughout the night are more likely to develop disease problems.

8. Remove diseased leaves, flowers, and fruit as soon as they are noticed

• Diseases are easily spread by wind and rain from diseased plant tissues. Destroy the diseases material. DO NOT COMPOST.

9. Fertilize to promote growth, but avoid over-fertilization, especially with nitrogen

• Young, succulent growth is susceptible to attack by many fungi and bacteria.

10. Try to maintain insect damage to a minimum

• Insect wounds provide entry sites for disease-causing organisms

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