The Hazards of Debris in Vegetable Gardens

In order to give your vegetable garden a healthy start, the area needs to be cleared of debris. Debris can include large rocks, stones, rotted wood, stumps, old plants and used plant material. Ensuring the garden soil is clean and clear will help immensely in preventing plant diseases from destroying the vegetables.

Plant Materials

Keep a vegetable garden's soil healthy by removing old plants or portions of decaying plants. Rake up old mulch in the spring; this will give the soil a chance to rejuvenate itself. Bury the used material away from the garden to protect the soil from possible infestation. Many plant parasites hide in used plant materials and can cause serious damage to newly planted vegetables.

Disinfecting Tools

Cleaning garden tools is another way of preventing debris from creating problems in the vegetable garden. Tools like garden stakes, poles, rakes, shovels and trowels need to be disinfected after being used. Use bleach detergent to scrub off soil particles. Rinse plant support structures with bleach detergent to remove fungi and viruses.


Many plant diseases start with clutter in the garden; bacteria and fungi can grow underneath debris that is lying around. According to the University of Georgia, plant diseases are caused by four main organisms: bacteria, fungi, nematodes and viruses. Serious vegetable diseases like fusarium and verticillium wilts are caused by fungi; the disease causes the leaves of the vegetable plant to wilt, and if left untreated can kill the whole plant. Leaf spot is caused by bacteria in the garden. The University of Connecticut says leaf spot is the most prevalent problem for peppers in the eastern United States. The leaves turn brown and become oddly shaped. Eventually the leaves develop a yellow hue and drop off. This leaves the vegetable highly vulnerable to the sun and results in loss of plant productivity. There are many varieties of the vegetable disease called blight, which is caused by fungi. Signs that a plant might have blight are yellow or brown spots on the leaves. Some types of blight can infect other portions of the plant such as the stem. Early treatment with a fungicide is the key to the plant's survival.

Keywords: debris in gardens, vegetable garden hazards, harmful vegetable diseases

About this Author

Christina Delegans-Bunch is a freelance writer who has been pursuing her professional writing career since May 2009. Her work has been published on eHow. She is looking forward toward personal and professional growth as her writing skills expand. She is a certified floral designer and wedding consultant.