How to manage plant pests and diseases in your victory garden
Author Credit: Matt Kasson, West Virginia University; Brian Lovett, West Virginia University, and Carolee Bull, Pennsylvania State University
Home gardening is having a boom year across the U.S. Whether they’re growing their own food in response to pandemic shortages or just looking for a diversion, numerous aspiring gardeners have constructed their first raised beds, and seeds are flying off suppliers’ shelves. Now that gardens are largely planted, much of the work for the next several months revolves around keeping them healthy.
Contrary to the Biblical adage, we do not necessarily reap what we sow. As researchers specializing in plant pathology and entomology, we have devoted our careers to understanding and managing plant pests and pathogens. We are also gardeners with varying levels of experience and have seen firsthand the damage these insects and disease-causing agents can inflict.
Plant health is essential for seeing your garden succeed all the way to harvest. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health to help bring needed attention to pests and diseases that threaten global food production.
Thousands of pests and pathogens are known to target commercial crops, but a few usual suspects are routinely responsible for havoc in gardens across the U.S. Although each organism’s preferences vary, a few common tactics can help you detect them and protect your plants.
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