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Naturally Treating Garden Diseases & Pests

This wet and humid Summer here in Vermont has given us the difficult task of dealing with common garden issues. My garden itself is battling some hardships so I thought I would go over some of the ways I am naturally treating garden diseases. 

We try to grow as organically as possible so when troubles come our way, we also deal with them as naturally as we are able. With the expansion of our gardens this year combined with the wild weather our region has experienced it has led us to having to be proactive about some issues that have come our way. 

Naturally Treating Garden Diseases

While some of the things I will go over are not happening to our personal gardens it does not mean that they might not come our way during the season. I wanted to share the knowledge I have learned over the years about tricks of the trade to treat these crop killers. 

There is nothing worse than a disease or pest swooping in and taking over. It can happen almost overnight and if you don’t get a handle on it, you could lose all of your hard work. 

That was my fear when I found early signs of blight on some of my tomato plants. They seemed to be thriving with the humid weather, growing rapidly. Although I was doing all the right things by not overwatering, keeping them pruned, and removing any leaves that aren’t looking desirable.

Our tomato plants are one of our most used crops. The kids and I eat them fresh daily and I preserve them in several different ways from sauces to salsas and by canning and freezing. Losing our crops in these beds would be devastating to our shelves and freezers…..and littles hands. 

Garden Diseases


Yellowing of leaves and brown spotting at the lower leaves is the beginning signs of blight. 

You can treat this disease in its earlier stages, if blight is too far progressed it will be harder to treat and could also potentially spread resulting in the plant dying. Knowing that blight will not be treated completely is key. This DIY organic spray will only help slow or potentially stop the spread of blight and hopefully leave you with a healthier fruit and harvest on the top part of the plant. 

You will first want to remove the infected leaves and branches and burn them or throw them into the garbage. DO NOT compost them as this is a fungal disease that starts in the soil. Dispose of them properly so that you are infecting the compost. 

For the spray you will need:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dish soap

Mix and put into a spray bottle, spray the plants early in the morning or later in the evening when crop is not in direct sunlight. Re-apply to infected plant and neighboring plant every couple of days or more if you are experiencing heavy rain.

garden blight


Downy Mildew 

Yellow to pale green spots on leaves with a white, fluffy growth underneath. 

You will want to try to stake your crop or lift it to allow everything to dry out naturally and encourage good air movement throughout. You could also use a trellis system to help prevent this from further happening. 

An organic DIY spray to use will need:

  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon castile soap
  • 1 gallon of water
garden downy mildew

“Sweet basil downy mildew caused by Peronospora belbahrii” by Plant pests and diseases is marked with CC0 1.0.


Dark sunken lesions on leaves and stems. It is a disease that happens in warm and wet seasons like the one we are having here in Vermont this year, or can happen from overwatering.  

Prune out any dead or infected parts of your crop. Make a neem oil spray or soil drench following directions for mixing or diluting. 

Make sure to spray every couple of days or more if there has been a lot of rain. 

garden anthracnose

“Yam: Anthracnose” by Plant pests and diseases is marked with CC0 1.0.

Be patient and kind with yourself in the garden. When a plant you have worked hard on raising starts to fail it can be frustrating however everything that happens within our gardens are lessoned learned. The most trial and error you experience as a homesteader the more knowledge you have for successful years ahead!

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