Garden Challenges: Plant Diseases

Everyone I talk to this year is battling strange summer weather conditions. It may be a drought, too much rain or cold weather. Weather that is abnormal or constantly changes will make for poor crops and plant diseases. Rain on the Flowers
Creative Commons License photo credit: aresauburn™

Rainfall every other day creates the perfect setup for foliar fungal diseases on vegetables.

Many fungal diseases thrive and spread in a humid climate where plants stay wet for long periods of time.

Other fungi prefer cooler wet weather.

Whichever situation you are facing in your area, these conditions will create plant disease unless extra steps are taken to help.

Good air circulation will help plants stay healthy. Remove any sickly leaves and keep weeds down.  You may also decide to plant disease resistant vegetable varieties as a precaution for humid or wet weather conditions.

Fungicides such as Daconil can be used to help combat these diseases. Always make sure you diagnosis the plants problem before spraying a fungicide.

Many fungal diseases appear first as leaf spots. Common plant diseases in the garden are early blight and late blight on tomatoes and Irish potatoes, rust on snap and pole beans, and powdery mildew on squash, cucumbers and watermelons.

Another weather condition that affects the vegetable garden is fluctuations in day and night temperatures.

Stunted growth and dieback may occur and about the only way to correct this is to replant the plants. It may seem drastic but unhealthy plants do not produce well and may spread disease to healthy plants

Deformed tomatoes or catfacing are common problems if the weather is cool and cloudy at the time of bloom. And tomatoes tend to crack during rainy periods when the temperature is relatively high. This happens more when rains follow a long, dry period.

Many of the cosmetic flaws found on fruit may be attributed to drastic changes in temperature and moisture levels during the flowering sage and even during the first stages of fruit developing.

Lack of pollination, petal drop, or no fruit in some vegetables may also be attributed to drastic changes in weather patterns or abnormal temperatures.

Sprays will help any disease from plants that are stressed from bad weather conditions but poor fruit or vegetable crops really cant be controlled unless you grow you crops in containers, which can be moved indoors or into a greenhouse or if you can cover your crops.

Poor weather conditions can affect any area and my NW Pennsylvania garden has seen a few too many unpredictable gardens seasons in the last few years.

For this reason I have learned to always grow a few tomato and pepper plants on the patio or in a greenhouse. I also grow strawberries year round in hanging baskets. I also keep row cover handy for covering my plants against rain and cooler nights. Going, going, going, gone
Creative Commons License photo credit: quinn.anya

If your garden is suffering from poor climate conditions these ideas may help and your weather may also improve.

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