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  • Diseased vegetable plants, too far gone. How to destroy?

    Created by Chemille on

    I have some spaghetti squash, pumpkin vines and red kale plants that are eaten, infested and covered with powdery mildew. At this point I think the whole thing is top far gone to salvage. I tried the baking powder method, I sprayed a 3 in one fungicide and used the dish soap method. The few squash plants I had growing are eaten by pickle worms. So I am trying to find out the best way to destroy all of these contaminated and diseased plants and see if I can perhaps plant something else.

    My red kale looks like swiss cheese. I have found worms and some red tiny beads on the undersides of the leaves. So these guys are also infected with something. Not sure how to proceed with them as well.

    This is my first season gardening and I would like to continue to garden as much as I can before the winter. I live in Coastal Virginia.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  • Author
  • #209483


    In order to prevent these pests from reoccurring next year, it is important to eradicate them now. The best product to control any leaf eating worm or caterpillar is known as Bt (Bacillus thuringensis). And although it may sound scary, it is a naturally occurring soil bacteria that ONLY effects these sorts of insects. As for the powdery mildew, try a sulfur or copper based fungicide to combat the fungus.
    Now, the most important thing you can do to protect the rest of your garden is to get these infested plants OUT! If you want to be thorough, treat the entire garden (infested or not) with both the fungicide and the Bt. Next, remove the plant material that is showing signs of infection or infestation. Keep a very close eye on the remaining plants in your garden throughout the rest of the growing season and treat plants as needed. Once the growing season comes to an end be sure to remove all remaining plant material (even weeds) before winter hits. Additionally, be sure to regularly disinfect garden tools and equipment, and do so especially after coming into contact with diseased plant materials.
    There are a couple different ways in which you can dispose of these plants. Since powdery mildew spores generally do not survive long after their host plant dies, it is acceptable to add infected plant material into your compost pile. (Insect pest infested materials are good to go as well). If you do not have a compost pile, you can burn or bury the material (again, powdery mildew is ok to bury because it is not soil borne). Finally, you can always add these materials into your green waste trash bin as well


    Eric Vinje

    Hi Chemille –

    At this point I suggest pruning away the diseased/ infested portions of your plants or pulling everything up and starting over. Throw the trimmings in the trash so as not to spread the fungus. If it’s legal in your area you can also burn the material. Do NOT put the pruned plant material in your compost pile where the spores will have a chance to overwinter and later be spread in your garden. If you do replant consider the following:

    • Select plants that are disease resistant when possible
    • Provide plenty of room between plants so that air can circulate between leaves and stems
    • Water plants close to their base, rather than from the top, and water early in the day to give excess moisture a chance to evaporate from the leaves
    • Inspect plants frequently for pests/ disease and treat with an organic product when a problem is found
    — Visit our Pest Problem Solver (https://www.planetnatural.com/pest-problem-solver/) for pictures, descriptions and a complete list of earth-friendly remedies

    Hope this helps!

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