Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sound the Alarm

Powdery Mildew! A sure sign that summer is transitioning to autumn. (& I'm not ready for this, but I do like the fall season.) Some humid days and cool nights we've had aren't helping.

Innocent enough looking at this stage, but don't be fooled. It will spread rapidly to the favorite host plants in the garden. For me that is the delicata squash, cucumbers, and eventually the zucchini (the zucchini variety I'm growing this is supposed to be PM tolerant, though).

So what to do? In my live and let live garden where the squash and cucumbers ramble out of their beds and across walkways, I did jump in the tangle with the snippers and opened up the walkway. This should improve air flow around the plants. I also snipped & removed some of the leaves with PM or other injuries to improve air flow within the plant (these don't go into the compost either). Then I mixed up a water and baking soda mixture (sometimes a little dish soap to help it stick) and sprayed many of the leaves. The baking soda apparently changes the pH level on the surface of the leaves enough to discourage PM.

But then it rained... so I'll check up on them today.

All I try to do is hold it at bay long enough to keep the plant reasonably happy and comfortable until the last of their days and the end of the harvest. If it gets really bad, I remove the plant. Not willing to start spraying anything stronger than baking soda. By then, we're ready to move on to eating something else anyway!

5 comments:

Connie said...

In my garden it is survival of the fittest, and I rarely intervene. My green beans look absolutely horrible with some brown rusty looking stuff, but they are still producing beans!

kate said...

The dreaded PM - I almost wrote PMS - seems to be setting in for me as well. One of my perennial Geraniums has succumbed to it, so that means I'll have to remove it. I've tried going the baking soda route as well, but this is the second season when it has appeared. I worry about it spreading. I hope you have managed to nip it in the bud!

Bob said...

Petunia, yes it is a sure sign that summer is coming to a close. One tech. that works well on pm, especially on squash and other veggies is one part whole milk with 7 parts water. This spray works well because milk has a natural mildicide in it. Many organic gardeners use this and it is said to be more effective. Hope this helps, BOB

Petunia's Gardener said...

Thanks for the support both for letting nature run its course yet discouraging PM if possible! Bob, I will try the milk solution. I debated about trying it the other day but since I did think the baking soda helped last year, I gave that the first shot. Glad to have the milk recommendation.

RUTH said...

It's been the worst year ever here for me as far as mildew is concerned. I too have been spraying with baking soda and milk.