​PPDL Picture of the Week

April 2, 2018

A Healthy Start

Dan Egel, Clinical Engagement Associate Professor-SWPAC, Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University

As I write this, the weather is cold and rainy.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t help notice a nearby garden center had early season vegetables seedlings for sale in front of the store.  It won’t be long before seedlings of vegetables such as tomato and cucumber are for sale.  As a vegetable specialist, I always enjoy looking through the seedlings.  My aim in searching the vegetable seedlings is the same as the homeowner; I look for the diseased seedlings.  Unlike the homeowner, however, I take the diseased seedlings back to the laboratory where I can isolate the pathogen.  Homeowners, hopefully, avoid the diseased seedlings and take the healthy plants home. 

The photo shown here is of a tomato seedling I bought last year at a garden center.  The lesions are symptoms of the disease bacterial speck of tomato.  Although this photo was taken to show case typical lesions, it would be easy to overlook the symptoms and purchase a diseased seedling. 

Tomatoes with bacterial speck may develop many lesions on foliage and ugly, scabby lesions on fruit.  The lesson is to avoid purchasing vegetable seedlings with bacterial speck or other diseases.  Select seedlings with a healthy green color on all the leaves.  Avoid seedlings with lesions such those shown here that may be diseased.  A healthy garden will be the reward for taking a little extra time choosing vegetable seedlings.  

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Tomato seedling