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Clubroot: how to deal with it in a home garden

Mary

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Clubroot is a serious fungal disease that only plagues cabbage-family crops (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, etc.) If you detect that it is in your soil, then you need to act quickly. That is why you need to educate yourself on homemade aquaponics by reading this lengthy DIY guide that will also share with you some amazing and effective tips that you can follow in order to maintain your garden.

Detection

Clubroot will stunt a plant’s growth, cause the plant to turn yellow, and/or cause it to wilt quickly. If mature plants are not growing, or young plants suddenly wilts and die, then this fungus is likely the culprit.

If your cabbage crops show any of the conditions listed above then gently dig up the plant from the garden. Dig widely around the plant, with the goal of leaving absolutely no roots or root tendrils in the ground. Once the plant is safely away from the garden, check the roots of the plants.

This fungus causes plants to have thick, gnarled, mangled roots rather than the healthy, fibrous roots that you expect to see. This root distortion is what causes the symptoms above, as it prevents the plants from taking up water and nutrients from the soil.

If you find gnarled, misshapen roots on the plant, then clubroot is your problem and you need to act fast. If left untreated, the fungus can live in soil for 7 to 10 years without any cabbage plants being grown there.

Prevention

Clubroot is best prevented by buying your seeds from a reputable nursery or grower, as infected transplants cannot be easily identified. Starting your own plants from seed using a sterile potting mix will also prevent the disease from being introduced into your garden.

Properly rotating your crops will also help to prevent the fungus. When possible, keep cabbage-family crops on a 4-year rotation schedule.

Treatment

First, remove all affected plants from the garden and dispose of them. Do this carefully, ensuring that you leave no roots or root particles behind. Eventually, the gnarled roots will rot and disintegrate, spreading the fungal spores into the soil, which is why it is important to carefully remove them all. Do not compost these plants, as the fungus will survive the composting process and you will merely spread the fungus to other areas of the garden.

The best treatment, once the fungus is identified, is to use lime to raise the pH of your soil to above 7.2. The fungus thrives in cool, moist, acid soil so raising your pH to the more neutral level of 7.2 may help to counteract the fungus’ growth.

Because clubroot likes cool, moist places, solarization of the soil is also effective. This consists of covering your soil with clear construction-grade plastic (1-2 mils) for 4-6 weeks during the hottest part of the year (May-September in most regions.) This basically sterilizes the soil if done for a long enough period of time.

Cabbage-family crops should not be grown in an area affected and treated for clubroot for at least a year.

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