Among the leafy vegetables most widely grown in gardens are chard, divided into chard and cut beets, the latter also called herbs. Along with spinach and beets, they are part of the Chenopodiaceae botanical family and are very easy to grow and versatile in the kitchen.
Beets can theoretically be sown or transplanted in the garden over a very long period, from early spring to late summer. Therefore, the harvest of these vegetables can be well staggered and distributed over time, which is also why they are so widespread in home gardens.
Harvesting healthy and beautiful beet leaves is therefore the dream of many gardeners, but unfortunately these plants are not only threatened by snails and other insects: these species can be affected by certain diseases that cause their quality to deteriorate and deteriorate. deteriorated.
How to prevent diseases
Main coastal and pasture diseases
Swiss chard blight
bad beet wine
Virosis: yellow Swiss chard and mosaic
How to prevent diseases
Normally fungal or cryptogamic phytopathologies are favored by humidity and heat, sometimes it is inevitable that certain plants fall ill. However, there are some precautionary measures that can limit the occurrence of this type of problem through the cultivation of coasts and pastures, and they are very important in the organic garden. Let’s see together which are the most important preventive measures.
- Water on the ground and not on the leaf. When watering, water should not be distributed on the foliage, but only on the ground. The ideal solution is to set up a drip irrigation system that delivers water slowly and directly into the soil, without touching the plants.
- Crop rotation . Another good tip is to follow a crop rotation scheme that includes not repeating the planting of beets consecutively, but allowing at least 3 cycles of other crops to pass before growing them again in the same space. In addition to diets, you should avoid repeating other plants of the Chenopodiaceae family, such as beets and spinach.
- Don’t over-fertilize. Over-fertilizing can cause problems for the plant, this applies to liquid fertilizers but also to some typical organic garden fertilizers. Manure, in bulk or in pellets, in massive doses leads to an excessive concentration of nitrogen in the soil and in plant tissues. Beets in particular are very prone to nitrogen buildup in the tissues, which lose their turgidity and are less resistant to disease and aphid bites. Moreover, the accumulation of nitrogen also means an unhealthy vegetable for the body, since nitrites in excessive doses are toxic.
- Use of macerated vegetables. Regularly spraying beets with a stimulating action greatly contributes to prevention. In this, equisetum is very useful, a plant that contains a lot of silicon and for this reason promotes the resistance of plant cells to fungal mycelia.
- Remove diseased leaves. If there are problems in the garden, it is always important to remove the diseased parts and, if necessary, the whole plant. This is to stop the spread of the problem.
- renew the plants . Harvesting Swiss chard in ornamental gardens is often done by cutting off only the outer leaves to allow new plant growth. This technique is certainly positive because it makes it possible to optimize crop production as much as possible, but over time the plants age and tend to fall ill more often. Therefore, the option of directly harvesting the whole variety of beet, clearing the land and planting or transplanting the beet into other beds should be considered. This allows you to always have young plants that are less likely to get sick.
The main diseases of coasts and grasslands
Given these premises of prevention, let’s now see one by one what are the main diseases that can affect diets and what ecological methods should be used to combat them.
plague of cards
We can find strains of this disease on many garden plants, unfortunately beets are no exception. The mildew fungus causes yellowish or reddish areas to appear on the upper page of the leaves and felty mold on the lower page. Mildew manifests itself mainly on the leaves of the central rosette, causing them to dry out. This pathology most likely affects spring and autumn crops because the ideal temperature for the fungus is 10°C and it decreases considerably when it exceeds 20°C.
In professional organic farming, plants can be treated with copper-based products, scrupulously respecting the doses and methods of use indicated on the packaging. Copper-based products, with the same precautions for use, are valid for all the other fungal diseases listed below and in very humid years are also recommended in pleasure gardens.
It is probably the most common disease of beets and whirlpools, and can affect all green parts. It appears from mid-June and initially manifests as very small rounded notches, which quickly widen to become circular patches bordered by a halo. Finally, the spots merge giving rise to necrotic areas which can lead to the complete drying of the leaf. Towards the end of summer, especially in the presence of high humidity, Cercosporosis occurs in grasses and coasts in a more severe way. The pathogen survives dormant in crop residues, so removing it from the beds and putting it in the compost pile is a good rule of thumb.
It is a rarer pathology, which manifests itself by orange-yellow powdery pustules, especially towards the end of summer. Also in this case, we proceed to the elimination of all damaged parts and possibly to treatments.
Bad chard wine
It is a pathology found in very humid soils and during rainy periods. The primary root is covered with a wine-coloured felt, from which derives the name bad wine. The importance of promoting soil drainage by growing in raised beds seems obvious, especially in very clay-textured soils.
Virosis: yellow beet and mosaic
Diseases caused by viruses cannot be eradicated with copper products or other fungicides, they can only be better prevented by taking the following measures:
defend plants against aphids, which are the main vectors of viruses;
eradicate infected plants and dispose of them without composting them;
disinfect the knives we use to cut diseased plants before using them for healthy plants.
The viruses that affect beets are several strains responsible for the » Yellow », the symptoms of which are recognizable by a yellowing starting from the apex of the outer leaves then extending to the other leaves, which take on shades tending towards orange. Another virus is the chard mosaic which is manifested by thick, wavy leaf fins and thinning of the veins of young leaves and small areoles of pale color alternating with others of regular color.
The bacterium Pseudomonas syringae is responsible for “vascular blackening”, a process of putrefaction with blackening of the internal tissues of the leaf rib, sometimes reaching the collar and the root. Affected plants should be eradicated and those suspected of being affected can be treated with copper products.