While container gardening is relatively clean since you’re growing your vegetables in a more controlled environment, with cleaner soil and more personal attention than a vegetable garden outside, it’s still possible for your plants to suffer from insect damage or diseases. You will still need to take precautions to safeguard your investment.
1) When using plants purchased from a store, be sure to wash them thoroughly before bringing them into the house. Insects love to catch a ride on the back side of leaves, and it only takes one or two of the little buggers to wreak havoc on your hard work!
2) Healthy plants can fend off diseases and insects better than sickly, spindly plants. Be sure to grow them in adequate sunlight with the proper nutrients and water.
3) Wash your hands and any tools you may have used when working with diseased or infested plants. You don’t want to transfer a problem throughout your whole container garden.
4) If you have severely diseased or infested plants, go ahead and toss them. You don’t want to risk losing your whole crop because of a few sick plants.
Before reaching for a chemical fungicide to fight off those plant diseases, try using an organic one instead. You can also try some home solutions, such as:
Baking Soda/Oil Combination: Mix ½ tablespoon of baking soda and ¼ teaspoon of cooking oil in a quart of warm water.
Listerine® Solution: Mix 1 teaspoon of Listerine® into a quart of warm water
Hydrogen Peroxide Solution: Mix 1 tablespoon per gallon of water.
Using one of the above recipes, mix directly into the sprayer and squirt on your plants every 10 days or so until the fungus or disease is gone.
Insects can be controlled with a nice little mixture of soap and oil. Mix ½ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, ¼ teaspoon of cooking oil, and a quart of warm water together. Mist underside and top of all the leaves every 10 days to control many common insects that can destroy your plants.