How can I minimize plant disease problems in my vegetable garden next year?
Several steps can be taken to minimize disease problems in your garden next year. An important task is to clean up the garden in fall. Carefully remove and destroy the infected plant debris. Many of the fungi and bacteria that cause plant diseases survive over the winter in the dead leaves, stems, and other plant parts that are left behind in the garden. The fungal spores and bacteria that survive in the garden then attack the new vegetable plants next spring. Also, annually rotate the placement of vegetables in the garden. Disease problems often increase when the same crop is planted in the same area in successive years. For crop rotation to be effective, gardeners should not plant vegetables belonging to the same plant family in the same location for three years. Selecting vegetable varieties that are resistant to specific diseases can also be helpful.