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On the whole plants are good at keeping themselves healthy. Disease in the strict sense of the word happens when a pathogen (like a fungus, bacterium, virus) is present on the plant or in the soil and the environmental conditions are unfavorable for the plant (too much humidity, drought, stress). Moreover, the plant has to be susceptible to this particular pathogen for the symptoms to develop. If any one of these things is not present (susceptibility in the plant, pathogen and unsuitable environment), the disease will not happen. Other disruptors of plant health are physiological disorders deriving from stresses such as drought or nutrient deficiency. Finally, pests can also damage crops and impair their growth, thus reducing yields.
To grow your plants healthy, you have to provide them with appropriate amounts of water, nutrients, and the proper environmental conditions. Moreover, a good soil organic content and optimal pH are necessary in some cases to secure your harvest. Make sure to know how much sunlight and space your plants need before planting and which soils they prefer. Prevention of disease involves mainly the avoidance of stressful conditions for the plant. This requires good management practices in the field during the growing season.
Balanced fertilization, appropriate water supply and the organic carbon content in the soil are important to keep the plant healthy. In case of disease, biological treatments usually include insecticidal soaps, neem extract, formulations containing the bacteria Bacillus thurigiensis or fungi of the genus Trichoderma, as well as Spinosad. Other formulations accepted in organic farming are copper or sulfur-based fungicides, for example. Finally beneficial insects can be promoted or introduced to reduce the population of a pest.
No chemical control needed!