The Q&A Archives: Vegetable garden disease

Question: Each spring I plant my vegetable garden and it does fine until the tomatoes and squash start bearing fruit. Then the stalks start dying from the ground up. It quickly consumes the entire stalk plus the fruit. What is this? What is the remedy please.

Answer: Disease pathogens can winter over in garden soil and be ready to attack plants the following year so we always recommend you rotate your crops from year to year. If you are having the same problems with the same plants year after year you may need to give your garden a rest for a year and plant your tomatoes in containers instead. Squash can develop fungal diseases, too, but the most likely problem with your squash plants are squash vine weevils. Inspect the vines for damage near the stem as it emerges from the ground. That's the favorite place for attack. You might see sawdust looking material on the soil surface and/or oozing fluids from the vines. If you find these symptoms, the culprits are squash vine borers. Again, rotate your crops so the pests cannot easily find them. After a year, when you replant your squash, allow them to grow until they begin to develop flowers. At that time wrap aluminum foil around the stems where they emerge from the ground to keep the vine borers from boring into the vines. Hope this helps!

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