Pests & Diseases
Most of us will have had some experience with alot of these pests and diseases. Some are very easy to treat while others are almost impossible. I am putting together a list of different problems that can affect the home garden and rememdies whenever I come across them. Some of these home rememdies I have tried myself and found very helpful. Also many I have not experienced yet but somebody is sure to. I have provided reference links wherever possible, especially to the more problematic areas that I haven't had any experience with yet. I think that may actually be a good thing that i haven't suffered too badly from any diseases but pests on the other hand... I think we can all relate there to some extent!
Aphids: These pests are possibly the most destructive and the most hard to get rid of once you have them. They are also capable of instant reproduction the moment they hatch, so if you happen to see Aphids on your plants, chances are you are seeing at least 5 generations. There are many different synthetic chemical sprays that have had varying degrees of effect but if you use the same spray for too long, the pests can begin to build up immunity eventually making the spray useless. An overabundance of pests in your garden can also point to problems in the soil too so this may be something to take notice of. You can find many different pest sprays in local garden stores but some may contain too many chemicals that aren't suitable for use in your garden. A popular choice is to use a Neem Oil, or you can try make your own natural sprays at home using the following ingredients:
Tomato Leaf Spray:
Tomato plants, as members of the nightshade family, contain toxic compounds called alkaloids in their leaves. When the leaves of tomato plants are chopped, they release their alkaloids. When the alkaloids are suspended and diluted with water, they make an easy to use spray that is toxic to aphids, but still safe around plants and humans.
What You'll Need:
-One to two cups of tomato leaves
-Two cups of water
-A strainer or cheesecloth
To make tomato leaf spray, simply soak one to two cups of chopped
tomato leaves in two cups of water. Let it steep overnight. To make the spray, strain the leaves out of the liquid using cheesecloth or a fine strainer. Add another one to two cups of water to the liquid and add it to a spray bottle.
To use the tomato leaf spray in your battle against aphids, spray
the stems and foliage of the infested plant with the spray, paying special
attention to the undersides of leaves, since that is where aphids most commonly congregate.
Caution: While this spray is very safe for humans, some people are
allergic to members of the nightshade family. If you are one of them, use care in making and applying this spray.
Garlic Oil Spray
Organic gardeners have long relied on garlic as part of their pest-fighting arsenal. Garlic contains sulfur, which, besides being toxic to pests, is also an antibacterial and antifungal agent. The dish soap in this mixture also
breaks down the bodies of soft-bodied pests, such as aphids.
What You'll Need:
-Three to four cloves of garlic
-Strainer or cheesecloth
-Liquid dish soap
To make garlic oil spray, mince or finely chop three to four cloves of garlic, and add them to two teaspoons of mineral oil. Let this mixture sit for 24 hours. Strain out the garlic pieces, and add the remaining liquid to 1/2 litre of water. Add one teaspoon of mild liquid dish soap. This mixture can be stored and diluted as needed. When you need to spray, use two tablespoons of the mixture added to 1/2 litre of water in a spray bottle.
To use your garlic oil spray, first test by spraying an inconspicuous part of the plant to see if your mixture harms it at all. If there are no signs of yellowing or other leaf damage after a day or two, it is safe to use. If there is leaf damage, dilute the mixture with more water and try the test again. Once you have determined that it won't harm your plant, spray the entire plant, paying special attention to the undersides of leaves.
Garlic oil is a non-selective insecticide, which means that it will kill beneficial insects (such as lady bugs, who are natural predators of aphids) just as easily as it kills the bad guys. It's best to keep as many
beneficials around as possible. This spray should only be used if you haven't seen any beneficial bugs in your garden. The tomato leaf recipe, above, won't harm beneficials, so you should use that if you're lucky enough to have some beneficials in your garden. These sprays are easy to use, inexpensive, and effective. As you can see, even organic home remedies require care and attention to their effects. In general, use each spray as little as possible, and use it responsibly. You'll win the battle against aphids, and still have a healthy garden after they're gone.
Whitefly: Most notorious for their ability to carry and transmit diseases between crops causing serious losses. You can usually see them feeding on the undersides of leaves. They are becoming increasingly difficult to control as they rapidly build resistance to chemical pesticides. If you have any beneficial insects in your garden such as Lacewings & Ladybirds then these will prove very helpful in controlling the whitefly population. Physical barriers such as frost cloth or mosquito netting work very well for early-season protection. Handpick older leaves to remove young whitefly stages. Avoid using a lot of nitrogen fertilizer, including manures, as succulent growth will increase whitefly populations. You may need to check your phosphorus and magnesium levels, as deficiencies in these are believed to
contribute to whitefly infestations. Try a high pressure hosing in the early morning, 3 days in a row. It is also said that whitefly are attracted to the colour yellow so you could try placing some sticky paper traps around your plants, also try Neem or the sprays mentioned above for Aphid control.
Spider Mites: Sometimes you won't know you have an infestation until the damage is done. Spider Mites are considered a serious nuisance and are capable of feeding on over a hundred different species of plants. Visible signs of Spider Mite include webbing and white and yellow specks on leaves. They are difficult to see with the naked eye, so to confirm if you have Spider Mite, try shaking the leaf gently over a white piece of paper. You will need a magnifying glass to see them. They have 8 legs and are red, brown, yellow or green and move very slowly.
-You can first try removing them with a blast of water or washing the leaves down with a sponge. Remove heavily infested leaves all together and discard far away from the plant in a plastic bag. If an entire plant is covered with Spider Mite, remove the entire plant to prevent them spreading to other plants.
-Spray leaves with a solution of rosemary oil or rosemary oil-based pesticide. Rosemary essential oil is effective against spider mites and does not harm the beneficial predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis.
-Spray a soap solution on plant leaves. Mix 3 tbsp. of dishwashing soap into 4 litres of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and apply to the foliage, especially the undersides of the leaves. Reapply in six days if spider mites continue to feed on the plant. Some plants are more sensitive to soap solutions than others; leaves with more hairs hold solutions longer, increasing the chances of leaf burning. Test the solution on a small portion of the plant before spraying the entire plant.
-Boost the health of your plants -- stressed plants are more vulnerable to spider mites. In dry and dusty conditions, spider mites are thirsty and cause more injury. Provide proper amounts of water and nutrients to your plants; ensure that soils drain well and that plants receive optimal light.
Psyllid:The Psyllid is a relatively new pest, known to attack Potatoes, Tomatoes and other related crops. Here is a link to better describe them. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/pests/potato-tomato-psyllid/psyillid-factsheet.pdf
Tomato Fruit Worm: A very helpful article on natural methods of control http://www.ehow.com/about_6531732_organic-pest-control-tomato-worms.html
Early Blight: The same method applies for both Tomatoes and Potatoes as they are both members of the Nightshade family, therefore, never plant toatoes in soil previously used for potatoes and vice versa.
Late Blight: http://gardening.about.com/od/problemspest1/qt/Late-Blight.htm
Verticillian Wilt: Verticillium wilt is caused by the soil-borne fungi Verticillium dahliae and V. albo-atrum. Both infect a very wide range of garden plants through the roots and then grow upwards in the water-conducting tissues, causing wilting of the upper parts due to water stress. Wilting is mostly seen from spring until autumn.
Plants most often affected include Chrysanthemum, carnation, aubergine, potato, tomato, cucurbits and strawberries. Woody plants are also affected, including Acer, Cotinus, Rhus, Berberis, Catalpa, Cercisand Rosa, but the full host range is very wide indeed. Conifers are not affected.
The most commonly affected plants recorded by the RHS Pathology Laboratory are Acer, Cotinus, Catalpa and strawberries
Botrytis (grey mould): Grey mould is a disease caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea. It normally enters through a wound or infects plants under stress, but will infect healthy plants as well, especially under humid conditions. It can be expected at any time of year.
It is common on apples, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, beans, cucumber, courgettes, lettuce and tomatoes. It is also a problem for plants grown under glass, where conditions can be humid and overcrowded. It will infect Chrysanthemum, Cyclamen, Pelargonium, Primula and, in fact, most ornamental plants
Spotted Wilt Virus
Blossom End Rot