How to Take Advantage of Critical timing for Pest and Disease Control in your garden


Maximum resistance

Several vegetable varieties have a degree of resistance to pests or diseases so if you suffer from a particular problem in your garden it is worth selecting your variety for both this as well as for taste or keeping qualities. Look for blight resistance in potatoes. The variety “Valor” for instance is described in the HDRA catalogue as having “good overall disease resistance combined with double eelworm resistance and high resistance to blight”. Other resistant varieties include:

  • “Libra” tomatoes are resistant to fusarium rot
  • “Patriot” courgettes are resistant to cucumber mosaic virus

  • Parsnip “Avonresister” is less susceptible to canker
  • Plant breeders have even developed a carrot, “Fly away”, with some resistance to carrot fly.

It is worth carefully reading the small print in the seed catalogues for the levels of resistance in different varieties.

You can avoid some problems by good timing. If you sow carrots in March or early June you will avoid the worst of the carrot rust fly attacks. April and May sowings are more susceptible.

Onions grown from sets (the small immature bulb) will be less susceptible to onion fly than those grown from seed. (This is partly because they are planted out later but also because they don’t need thinning.) Sowing broad beans in September (you need an early variety like Aquadulce) will avoid aphid problems as the shoot tips will be past their vulnerable soft stage before the aphids appear in May. Radish, swede and turnip sown in July avoid the worst attacks of the fleabeetle. Above all don’t sow in cold, wet soils as you will just waste seed.

A regular watering regime will also help by keeping seedlings growing strongly without a check and by helping fruit to swell evenly. Irregular watering results in tomatoes splitting which will let in disease spores. Keep the humidity up by regularly spraying—in the greenhouse and polytunne it is important to discourage red spider mite.

Useful updates

The Pesticides Action Network UK, formerly The Pesticides Trust, are an independent body working to eliminate the hazards of pesticides. You can find news updates on their internet site—www.pan-uk.org—or check out their journal, Pesticides News (it is partially availalbe on their website).

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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