Pests & Disease Management
Integrated Pest Management and Disease Control.
This is great video from Grow Organic.com
What to look for: Starts off with small white powdery looking dots on leaves and will continually worsen as time goes on. Will attach beans, beets, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, peas, peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes and more.
Cause: Damp, hot weather can cause powdery mildew but is not dependent on these factors.
Control: Planting varieties that are better resistant to powdery mildew is important when growing in areas that have had it in the past. Plant in full sun. May require fungicide treatment such as organic Neem oil sprays.
DO NOT ADD TO COMPOST PILE
What to look for: Curled and yellow leaves. Stunted growth. Blackening on foliage. Bugs are most often on the UNDERSIDE of the leaf.
Crops: All garden crops!!
Control: Spaying with water to knock off plant. Prune heavily infested foliage. Apply neem oil or horticultural soap. Must be added at time of infestation, Neem oil solutions are NOT preventative! Hand washing plant for consumption is adequate.
What to look for: Tiny brown seed like eggs at the base of the stem. They orange goo and holes or roted spaces near the base of the stem. Often the second suspect are pill bugs or rolly pollys. They also eat away at the stems and make the plant week and die.
Crops: Squash, cucumbers, eggplant and young starter plants.
Control: Small ring of Diatomaceous earth around the stem will help deter but it works when it is dry.
Ultimately you have to cut out the borer bug with a knife .Cut lengthwise (NOT ACROSS) the infested part of the stem. Kill the bug or remove it and kill the bug. Use small amount of brown twine to loosely close gap and cover plant wound in soil.
What to look for: Blush tinge on upper part of leaves, maturing to small yellow spots on upper side with white fluffy growth underneath.
Cause: Occurs in cool temperatures and high humidity, this is common in our N. Texas gardens.
Control: Plant debris should be removed and burned. Space plants for good air circulation. Fast draining soil. Fungicides should be used under wet conditions for prevention.
DO NOT ADD TO COMPOST PILE.
This is a 5 on the scale of 1 to 5 in destructiveness in N. Texas!
What to look for: Chewed or holes in leaves mainly between the veins. Watch for white fluttery butterfly landing on plants in Spring and Summer.
Crops: Mostly brassicas: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and mustards.
Blossom End Rot
What to look for: This is a very common occurrence on tomatoes and peppers and can affect zucchini or mellons. Fruits start to rot from bottom or side up.
Causes: Dry weather following wet spell. Insufficient calcium in soil, excessive watering. Also if soils that have been heavily cultivated they are more prone to nutrient depletion.
Control: Mulch with pine or leave mulch around plants about 2 inches from root base to even out moisture. Add very small amounts of Epsome salts to the soil and lightly water in. OK to compost.
Other Pests in Your Garden
What to look for: Chews leaves and roots of plants.
Prevent infestation with light row cover, pick off by hand and lastly spay o contact with BT (Bacillus thuringiensis).
Diatomaceous Earth is a great organic method to use around the base of these plants. It only works when dry and must be reapplied after watering or rain.
BT is NOT preventative must be used directly on pest. Washes off after rain or watering.
Simple wash in kitchen is adequate for consumption.
Pollinators and predators of other crop destroying insects! KEEP them around and avoid using harsh chemicals or over the counter pesticides. Better to hand pick bad bug off then spay the how area and kill good bugs.