Signs of Pests and Disease in Your Garden


There are countless pests and diseases that can affect our plants.  Here are just a few of the most common ones.

Blossom End Rot
Symptoms: This is a very common occurrence on tomatoes and peppers. Fruits start to rot from bottom up. Looks like a brown, ripply skin.
Causes: A couple things cause this. Dry weather following wet spell. Insufficient calcium in soil. 
Control: Mulch around tomatoes to even moisture. Add lime to the soil.

Powdery Mildew Disease
Symptoms: Starts off with small white powdery looking dots on leaves and will continually worsen. Will attach beans, beets, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes.
Cause: Damp, hot weather can cause powdery mildew but is not dependent on these factors.
Control: Plant varieties that are better resistant to powdery mildew especially in areas that have had it in the past. Plant in full sun. May require fungicide treatment.


These small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects cluster densely on tender new growth and the undersides of leaves to suck plant juices. Plants often can withstand some aphid feeding with no adverse effect, but badly infested plants develop distorted growth and leaves may turn yellow or drop off.

  • To treat aphids, avoid applying too much nitrogen when fertilizing. Nitrogen can stimulate plants to grow too rapidly and produce a flush of exactly the kind of tender new growth that aphids love.
  • Attract and release beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which will be happy to devour a bountiful supply of aphids.

Cabbage Loopers

These green inchworms can make a mess of your broccoli and cabbage plants. They chew on foliage, bore holes into cabbage and broccoli heads, and leave behind unsightly black frass (droppings). Cabbage looper damage is annoying, but rarely causes severe crop loss. To remove caterpillars from a harvested head of broccoli or cauliflower, just immerse it in salted water. Loopers will feed on any cabbage-family crops, including cabbage, kale, collard, broccoli, and cauliflower.

  • Cover susceptible plants with a row cover to prevent moths from laying eggs on the plants.
  • Inspect your plants frequently and crush the eggs as you see them. Handpick the loopers and drop them into a pail of soapy water.

Keep your eyes open for other critters and disease for a healthy crop.