Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables
Vine Crop Disease and Pest Rx
by National Gardening Association Editors
Being prepared allows you to prevent many pest and disease problems. Here are gardening methods to follow, along with disease and pests to watch out for.
Grow resistant varieties. Ask a garden center, a gardening friend, or your cooperative extension service Master Gardeners which diseases are prevalent in your area and start with resistant crop varieties.
Control weeds and debris. Weedy areas often harbor disease and insect populations; weed regularly during the growing season. After harvest, till all healthy vines, leaves, stalks, and discarded fruit into the soil or compost them. Destroy diseased vines to prevent harmful organisms from surviving the winter and attacking next year's plants.
Rotate crops. Shift vine crops to different areas in the garden from one year to the next, and plant another vegetable family in their place. If you have a serious problem with any crop, don't plant it in the same spot for two or three years.
Control cucumber beetles. Because cucumber beetles can cause so much damage to vine crops, protect your plants from this pest. (See control information below.)
Use pesticides sparingly. Injudicious use of pesticides can backfire: it kills beneficial organisms that can help keep pests under control naturally, and encourages pest resistance. (Beneficial organisms do not recover as quickly as pests, and do not develop resistance). Use pesticides very carefully and as a last resort. In addition to the information below, you can check with Master Gardeners for the most up-to-date pesticide recommendations. Always read the instructions before applying pesticides, whether conventional or organic, following them carefully as you go. Read the label again when you put the container away, to be sure you store it safely.