People often think there is little they can do to control plant disease in organic gardens. With an organic garden, you can’t apply fungicides to eliminate disease problems. However, there’s plenty you can do to organically promote and maintain healthy, productive plants.
The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is popular in the world of disease control, in both the animal and the plant world. And it takes on a really important meaning in organic gardening, as many of the disease control methods focus on healthy plants and avoiding diseases. Listed below are several organic disease control suggestions.
Here are some methods you can use to organically ward off and fight disease problems with your plants:
Promote healthy plants – Healthy plants are less likely to get a disease. If they do, they are better able to fight the disease…and win.
Create the ideal environment – Lots of sunlight, good air circulation, and low humidity. Many plant diseases thrive in just the opposite conditions.
Trim and thin bushy plants – Many plant diseases hide and thrive in the dark recesses of bushy plants.
Insect control – Insects pick up tiny disease spores on their feet and transport them from plant to plant.
Lime/Sulfur/Copper Sulfate sprays – these naturally occurring minerals are effective against a variety of plant diseases. Copper sulfate is a good organic alternative to chemical fungicides, for treating powdery mildew.
Crop Rotation – Plants disease can harbor overwinter in your soil. Rotating crops will help to eliminate this problem.
Clean Tools – Disease can be picked up on your pruning shears and scissors. As you snip off a branch or twig, the open wound is a great entryway for disease.