Dealing with Pests and Diseases in the Garden


Morning is here, and you are smiling, ready to go and pick the vegetables for the day. But today, you are really ready, giddy even, because you’ve been watching a delicious-looking tomato that should be ripe today. It needed one more night to finish ripening, and you can picture it in your mind, glistening in the morning sun. Just thinking about that plump, bursting with juices, and gorgeously red tomato is making your mouth water as you near the plant. You’re full of anticipation, pride, and admiration because you babied this tomato every step of the way: you planted the seeds, cultivated, fertilized, and watered the plant as it grew. You sweated over this plant and waited patiently for this moment. Finally, it’s time to reap what you've sown.

Three tomatoes growing on vines

You bend down to harvest your prize tomato, and THERE IT IS! Or at least, what's left of it. You're not the only one that thought the tomato looked delicious. Right out of the middle, there’s a nibble where something got to your tomato before you could. Sure, it was probably as hungry as you are, but did it have to be this perfect tomato from your plant? Seriously? And to add insult to injury, the creature that nibbled on your tomato didn’t even have the courtesy to eat the entire thing. It’s so frustrating to have a whole tomato ruined for a few nibbles.

The reality is that most gardeners experience this disappointment at some point.

Garden pests can run rampant. Common garden pests include deer, rabbits, squirrels, worms, and insects. They traipse through and take their share, never stopping to consider the humble gardener who provided this feast for them. 

You may be overcome with questions: What’s the solution? What’s the best way to keep pests out of the garden? Are there humane ways of stopping this destruction? Should you grow more to make the losses less deflating? 

Of course, pests aren't the only problem that can cause poor growth or plant loss. Diseases also plague gardens everywhere. Diseases bring up even more questions: Do I have to use harmful pesticides? Are some diseases inevitable? Can any plant live and prosper with disease? 

You may feel like this uphill battle is too overwhelming, but don’t lose heart! We’ve compiled a series of articles to help you combat some of the most common garden pests in the continental USA.

tomatoes on vine with disease

Additional Resources for Dealing With Pests and Diseases

If deer are picking over your parsnips, go to this link: 4 Easy Solutions to Keep Out Deer

Rabbits in your radishes? Click here: Hare Today. Gone Tomorrow.

Is there a worm wriggling through your lettuce? Your watermelon? Your cherry tomatoes? Let's give you some more information here: Worm Control

Are ants swarming your cucumbers? It might be an aphid infestation. Learn natural ways to wipe them away.

Skeletonized leaves can be a sign of Japanese beetles. Learn how to outsmart them.

Insects are intriguing, but not when they’re eating your plants. We discuss safe options for insect control here. Natural Remedies for Pest Control

All of these pests can be accompanied by diseases you may not even know about.


How do you know which diseases are most likely terrorizing your plants? Some of the diseases in gardens include root rot, downy mildew, black spot, and so many more. Some can be bacterial, fungal, caused by nematodes, or just plain viruses. 


How does a plant with this or that disease function differently? And how can you protect your plant from something you simply cannot see, quite possibly before it's too late?

For an overview of diseases, diagnosis, causes, and possible remedies, please pursue the article by opening this link: Common Plant Diseases

Bowl of multi colored heirloom tomatoes
Let's get your garden-grown tomato to your kitchen table this time!

Additional Resources:

Disease Management in the Home Vegetable Garden

Written by Teresa Chandler

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