As rain falls and temperatures cool, the risk for plant disease increases. Scouting, prevention and treatment methods can help keep your plants healthy and producing.
Each time you water or harvest, check the leaves of your plants for discoloration. Diagnosing the exact cause for this discoloration can be tricky, but let the internet be your friend. Type in the plant name (example: “tomato”) and the symptom (“spots”) and look at the images that pop up to find the one that matches your issue.
Check out this video on common vegetable diseases and their prevention. Avoid touching plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and squash when they are wet; this can spread disease. Grass-clipping or straw mulch applied around the base of the plants can help prevent water from splashing up on the leaves and spreading soil-borne disease.
Compost worked into the soil or used as a thick mulch strengthens plants’ ability to fend off disease. Wide spacing and trellises allow sunlight to kill microorganisms on the plants stems and leaves and keep leaves off the ground.
Powdery mildew is a common disease found on the leaves of cucumbers and squashes. This article has some recipes for homemade sprays you can use to treat your plants.
Refrigerator pickles are a great way to enjoy your small pickling and larger slicing cucumbers in addition to salads and snacking. These pickles require no special canning skills and last up to 3 months in your refrigerator. By all accounts, they are some of the tastiest, most addictive pickles out there!
For the most crisp and fresh pickles, pick your cucumbers in the morning when the dew has dried from the plants’ leaves.
Organic Gardening Magazine has a good article that takes you from harvesting to pickling.
Or try this simple recipe that includes other veggies.