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How to control disease in organic vegetable gardens

How to control disease in organic vegetable gardens

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Wet humid weather is a recipe for fungal problems in the vegie patch. PHIL DUDMAN shares his tips on how to control plant diseases organically.

The recent deluge of rainfall where I live has certainly had a destructive effect on my silver beet, which is covered with rust disease right now. All I can do at this stage is remove as much of the affected growth as possible and feed it up with weekly applications of organic fish emulsion and liquid kelp to try and strengthen the plants and bring them into lots of healthy new growth. Fortunately, I planted some kang kong and Ceylon spinach a few months ago – both of which are loving the hot wet conditions – and both excellent substitutes for silver beet.

My cherry tomatoes seem to be doing OK in this weather, but when you take a closer look at the lower leaves, you can see they also have a fungal disease and if I ignore it, it could take over and destroy my crop. Again, I’ll just remove the worst of the affected growth. But there’s another thing, the bushes are very thick with growth so I’m going to thin and remove some of the stems to create better airflow through the plant and help reduce the spread of the disease.

One of my zucchini plants has been totally hammered by the rain, but the other is managing to hang on for its life. There’s quite a bit powdery mildew disease on the older foliage so again, it’s off with the worst affected leaves, but this time, I’m also going to give the remaining foliage a spray with an organic fungicide once a week to try to keep it under control.