Keeping Your Veggies Disease Free

Jul19th 20122 comments

This has been a surprisingly good year as far as diseases in my veggie garden. My tomatoes, cucumbers and squash are all great – ok, I have a little sign of powdery mildew on my zucchini but that’s about it. I think a lot of you must be having a similarly good year because I haven’t seen a lot of people in our garden centers with fungus or disease problems.

As most of you know, I like to use organics on veggies – which means spraying preventively. Organic fungicides work better if you use them before you have a problem as opposed to trying to cure a problem. I started doing a fungicide spray on the the susceptible plants in mid to late June, I think it was a little early this year because of all the warm weather, but I think my efforts kept all the fungus and disease away.

The fungicide I like to use is called Actinovate. I‘ve been using it for about 5 years now and I’ve had some great results. Actinovate is a new generation of fungicides – not like the old ones that made you wait a while after application before harvesting. Some of the old ones worked like a sterilizing bleach and you couldn’t harvest for 14 to 24 days! Who can wait that long?

I usually describe Actinovate as a disease-fighting beneficial bacterium. It protects the roots and the leaves of the plants so the fungus won’t spread or get established. Actinovate is labeled for organic gardening and is safe around beneficial insects as well as people and pets. It’s a must for the organic gardener in this day and age especially with the problems we’ve had with late blight in the past few years. No, Actinovate isn’t a cure, but it definitely slowed down the late blight I had in 2009.

Also keep in mind that Actinovate is not just for veggies; I recommend it for things like pythium on lawns, phytopthera on rhododendrons, or Downey mildew on anything. This stuff works great. My phlox paniculata and bee balm are mildew-free because of a preventive spray I did earlier.

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powder mildew

is it too late to apply Actinovate to my bee balm already infected?

No definitely not. It will

No definitely not. It will stop the spread of the disease and in the case of powdery mildew even start to cure it. I was just trying to get across that preventative sprays work much better. If you sprayed once or twice before you saw signs of the disease you probably wouldn’t have it now. Certain plants like monarda are notorious for powdery mildew and should be sprayed preventatively.

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