There are some fall garden tasks that are critical to maintaining a healthy garden. Disinfecting equipment is probably one of the most important but least completed fall garden tasks. However, it will probably save many of next year’s plants.
Last week I was speaking to one of my neighbors about her tomatoes. I asked her how many tomatoes she had planted this year. She said, “well I only need three or four, but I always plant eight or nine.” I asked why she planted eight or nine, and she commented that she always lost about half of them to disease. When I asked her if she disinfected her cages and tools, she said she had never thought of doing that.
If you go to a greenhouse, they will probably have stacks of extra trays put in some back corner. The reason is that many customers will return the empty trays to the greenhouse so they can be used again. The problem is that a greenhouse cannot use them. All of the trays have to be disinfected, and it is much cheaper for them to purchase new trays.
During the growing season many plants will contract some disease particular to the plant. Of course, we put cages and trellises around our vine plants like tomatoes, maybe peppers, and maybe even some of our squash, but we often never think that those diseased plants are wrapping around the cages and residue of those diseases remain.
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