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 depression will darken and grow larger as the disease progresses.
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.
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 tomato plants.
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 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 results in chewed-up leaves and even completely eaten plants. Targets include blackberries, raspberries, apple trees, carrots, lettuce, cabbage and many others.