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LOGAN — It's that time of year when the fruits of a gardener's labors are finally ready for harvest.
Rather than getting too excited about the smell of homemade salsa wafting through your household, Utah State University says it's valuable for gardeners to know the signs of disease in their vegetables so they can treat them.
The following list details symptoms of specific vegetable diseases to watch for.
Watermelon Mosaic Virus: This virus causes summer and winter squash, zucchini and pumpkins to appear bumpy and off-colored and causes their leaves to have an irregular shape. It is still OK to eat the fruit, but the diseased plants should be separated from the healthy ones to prevent spreading.
Beet Curly Top Virus: This disease mostly inhabits tomatoes and peppers in Utah. The plants will have yellow leaves, purple veins and curling leaves. These plants should be thrown away.
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus: Tomatoes with this disease will develop a calico pattern and brown rings. These plants should be thrown away.
Verticillium Wilt: This disease may affect eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. Symptoms include wilting and a brown ring on the inside of the stem. While these plants can still be used, they may be severely wilted.
Iris Yellow Spotted Virus: Onions with Iris Yellow Spotted Virus have straw-colored lesions. It is OK to eat the bulbs, but one should prevent spreading of the disease by separating the healthy bulbs from the diseased ones.
Powdery Mildew: Any plant may contract this disease. Plant leaves become coated with a white, flour-like covering, and the mildew could prevent plants from growing to their full size, but one can still safely eat them.
Utah State suggests several steps to prevent disease in a garden, including frequently wiping gardening tools with a disinfectant wipe and taking special care to control weeds. If weeds with disease aren't taken care of, the disease will easily spread to the plants.
It is advisable to burn or throw away the diseased plants rather than composting them, because the compost won't get hot enough to kill viruses or other plant pathogens, so disease will spread to additional plants.