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Anthracnose infection on a tomato. The sunken circular (Credit: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org )

Anthracnose infection on a tomato. The sunken circular depression will darken and grow larger as the disease progresses.

Vegetable gardening: common problems



Home gardeners growing vegetables are by now knee-deep in their routines: weeding, watering, fertilizing and, hopefully, monitoring closely for insects, diseases and critter activity. Here's a little help for identifying some common harmful pests before they have a chance to destroy your crops.

Want to see how to deal with these problems, plus prevent them in the future? READ: Vegetable garden troubleshooting.

Anthracnose infection on a tomato. The sunken circular
(Credit: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org )

Anthracnose infection on a tomato. The sunken circular depression will darken and grow larger as the disease progresses.

Anthracnose -- shown here on a watermelon leaf
(Credit: David B. Langston University of Georgia)

Anthracnose -- shown here on a watermelon leaf displaying brown, irregular shaped lesions, which will split in the center later in development, leaving a hole -- is a pathogen capable of releasing millions of spores per plant per day that can travel long distances, especially during wet weather.

Leaf lesions caused by late blight.
(Credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Leaf lesions caused by late blight.

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If you're seeing small puncture holes in the
(Credit: AP)

If you're seeing small puncture holes in the bottom portion of the stalk and stems of zucchini, squash, cucumber and muskmelon plants, the culprit is the squash vine borer, a pest that lays tiny eggs along the lower portions of stalks and stem.

Late blight causes lesions along the stems of
(Credit: Meg McGrath)

Late blight causes lesions along the stems of tomato plants.

Blossom end rot, a fungus caused by calcium
(Credit: Handout)

Blossom end rot, a fungus caused by calcium deficiency, appears as mushy black spots on the undersides of tomatoes (shown), peppers and eggplants.

Slugs thrive in moist conditions and feed on
(Credit: Fotolia)

Slugs thrive in moist conditions and feed on leaves and fruit, leaving a slimy trail in their wake. Here, a slug feasts on a hosta leaf.

Rabbits feed their hunger on your garden, which

Rabbits feed their hunger on your garden, which results in chewed-up leaves and even completely eaten plants. Targets include blackberries, raspberries, apple trees, carrots, lettuce, cabbage and many others.

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