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4. Identify Fruits and Vegetables That Need Fewer Pesticides

crops that require minimal pest control

Virtually all fruits and vegetables are attacked by insects and disease-causing organisms, but some crops suffer less insect and disease damage than others.

Here are some examples of crops that require minimal effort in controlling insects and diseases.

crops that require minimal pest control
If these crops are started from disease-free seeds or transplants, and if they are grown on well-drained soils, Midwestern gardeners can produce acceptable crops without repeated pesticide applications.
crops that require more pest control Other crops often require more protection with pesticides and are frequently difficult to grow in the Midwest. Losses will differ somewhat each season, and so will the amount of pest control needed. Spray only the crops in your garden that have pest problems, rather than spraying the entire garden.
apple scab

Also, specific varieties of some crops will differ significantly in their ability to withstand attack by insect pests and especially by plant diseases. Apple varieties, for example, vary considerably in their susceptibility to apple scab, a common and sometimes devastating fungal disease.

butternut squash
Although the availability of disease-resistant fruits and vegetables is widely known, insect-resistant plant varieties have been more difficult to develop. Therefore, examples of insect resistance in vegetables are few. Butternut squash is more resistant to the squash vine borer than other winter squash. Among summer squash, zucchini is the most susceptible.

tomato seedlings
Hybrid varieties usually offer the best tolerance to diseases and insects. Commercial hybrids combine such desirable characteristics as uniformity of plant and fruit type, uniform maturity, disease tolerance, improved quality, and increased overall vigor. Hybrid plants are usually stronger, healthier, and more productive than open-pollinated varieties.

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