Ways to Keep Your Garden Healthy
Watering your garden is great, but since many diseases need water as much as plants, how you do it makes a big difference. Many pathogens in soil and air require water to move, grow and reproduce. To avoid giving these diseases an environment they love, choose irrigation methods that limit moisture on a plant’s foliage. Soaking hoses and drip irrigation do this. If you are watering by hand, keep the leaves away while watering the roots.
The most common foliar problems are aggravated when the leaves are wet, so top irrigation is the least desirable option. If you choose this method, however, water at a time when the leaves will dry quickly but the roots still have time to absorb the moisture before it evaporates.
Also, keep in mind that more isn’t necessarily better when you feed your plants. Water-soaked soil or pots promote some rotting fungi and can also choke the roots, making them easy targets for rotting fungi.
Don’t crowd the plants
Trim congested, damaged, or old stems on plants prone to powdery mildew.
Overcrowded plants create their moisture, which allows diseases such as powdery mildew to thrive.
Be careful when spacing transplants and watch established plants as they spread. Overcrowded plants create their moisture, which allows diseases such as powdery mildew (photo, right), rust, and downy mildew to develop. Improving air circulation around plants reduces this high relative humidity and allows the foliage to dry faster.
Plants placed too close to each other tend to grow poorly due to competition for light, water, and nutrients. These weak plants are more susceptible to attack. Diseases also sometimes spread when an infected leaf makes contact with a healthy leaf, which is more likely when the plants are side by side.