Common Problems and Pests of Popular Garden Vegetables

Many Kentucky gardeners grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes for their own use or for sale in local farmer’s markets. Pests are sometimes challenging to identify and even more challenging to manage.  

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment advocates for a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks. A key part of that is to continually scout and monitor your garden to identify problems before they result in a significant loss. 

Photo by Markus Spiske on

The UK Cooperative Extension publication ID172—An IPM Scouting Guide for Common Pests of Solanaceous Crops in Kentucky—may help you identify common pests. The publication has a variety of photographs that show exactly what to look for in your crop.  

Some of the items the publication covers include: 

  1. Physiological and nutrient disorders such as vivipary, gold fleck, catfacing, zippering, sunscald, blossom end rot, blotchy ripening, yellow shoulder, and white core. 
  2. Insect pests such as aphids, leafminer, greenhouse whitefly, silverleaf whitefly, tobacco flea beetle, potato flea beetle, margined blister beetle, stink bugs, leaf-footed bugs, western flower thrips, two-spotted spider mites, Colorado potato beetle, tobacco hornworm, pepper maggot, beet armyworm, yellow-stripped armyworm, tomato fruitworm, European corn borer.  
  3. Tomato, pepper, eggplant, and potato diseases and management.  
  4. Herbicide injury.  
  5. A list of resources for further study.  

    To view the publication, visit  

    Source: Ric Bessin, UK Extension Entomologist, Nicole Gauthier, UK Extension Plant Pathologist 
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About krjack4

Extension Agent for Horticulture Serving home gardeners and Green Industry professionals, including commercial fruit & vegetable producers. Advisor to: Christian County Master Gardener Association; Downtown Hopkinsville Farmers Market.