Preventing diseases in the growing season
The growing season will soon be here, and I’d like to provide some comments on how you can help reduce the amount of diseases that can impact your vegetable crops. Other than weeds, diseases probably account for more frustration than any other item. And although sometimes, even with the hardest efforts, you can’t contain every disease, utilizing some of these recommendations can help you avoid considerable problems.
For a disease to be present, three things are necessary - the disease organism, the proper environment, and a susceptible plant. These must all coincide as well. You could have the disease organism, but if the weather is not favoring the disease, you’ll not get it, or vice versa. A good example was last year with tomatoes. Early blight and septoria leaf spot were two very common diseases that attacked every tomato last year. Why were they so rampant? Because the environment (when it rained every two or three days) was ideal for disease development. In 2012, when we suffered through drought, there were very few, if any diseases, because there was no leaf wetness, even though we had the disease organism as well as the susceptible plant.