Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Powdery Mildew Strikes

I noticed yesterday that my squash wasn't looking right, I played it off to the heat of the day and waited to see what it looked like this morning.  The leaves have been yellowing and spreading out a bit, my output has slowed way down too.  

I noticed this morning a dusty coating on a lot of leaves and some were splotchy with green and yellow.  Even some leaves have brown crispy edges and they are rolling up.

I realized immediately that powdery mildew is taking over within my squash plants.  I hurriedly and checked all my other plants and thankfully it's just this one area of my garden.  I can't say  I didn't half expect this because we have had so much rain.  I was just hoping they would be resistant to it but obviously my squash plants aren't resistant.

What is powdery mildew? A fungi is what causes powdery mildew.  It is caused by many different species of fungi in the order Erysiphales.  The fungi is spread by the wind blowing the spores that land on plants and cause the white spots on the leaves.  This can live year round by landing on the soil and surviving the winter and once the beds are dug again the next season the spores are sent back into the air and the life cycle begins again. 

I can't tell you how devastated I felt when I saw the leaves on my plants.  I went inside and mixed up a great organic homemade fungicide and went out to spray the leaves.
After spraying all the leaves I will wait and see now what happens.  I have read that a 50/50 mix of milk and water is a good preventative and I may try that if I don't see any changes this week from my other spray. 

Here is the recipe for an organic homemade fungicide that I use.

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 liter water

I mix it up and put it in a clean spray bottle and spray my plants.

You can also use 3 ounces of minced garlic soaked in 2 tablespoons of mineral oil for 24 hours.  Strain out the garlic and mix with 1 teaspoon dish soap into 1 pint of water.  Pour into a spray bottle  for fungicide and pest control.  Garlic is a well known fungicide on it's own.  I will be mixing that up for later use, but I need a new clean spray bottle.  Don't reuse bottles because you don't know what sorts of residues are left in them. I'm out of clean bottles so I need to get out and buy a few to have on hand.  When I get them I will mix up the garlic spray to work on  all my plants.

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