There’s nothing more defeating than taking time to nurture and grow your vegetable plants, only to find that in spite of your care and attention, they’re plagued with mold and mildew.
Powdery mildew is a problem many gardeners encounter, but it doesn’t have to ruin your vegetable garden if you can commit to taking action to eliminate it or manage it so it doesn’t cause damage to your plants.
It’s not anything that will immediately kill your vegetable garden, but it will cause a deterioration in the health of your plants, leeching nutrients and causing the leaves to shrivel up and turn yellow.
This is a fungus that affects just about all plants you want to grow in your garden, so you need to be able to identify it so that you can address it when and if it appears.
If you notice that your plant suddenly looks like it’s covered in powder on the leaves, stem, or flowers, that’s a sign of mildew.
One thing you want to do is see if you’ve given your plants enough room to grow. Sometimes, people crowd their gardens so tight with plants that the air doesn’t circulate properly, contributing to the humidity and mildewing of the plants.
You want to make sure they’re getting plenty of suns, too. If they’re growing in too much shade, it could make the mildew problem worse. You also want to take care to get your soil conditions just right for growing – not overly dry or too saturated with fertilizer.
If you’re constantly dealing with mildew issues, then make sure you invest in some of the preventative products that are on the market to help stave off this type of disease and keep your garden healthy.
Once the powdery mildew appears, you’ll have to try to remedy the situation. There are a variety of solutions people swear by – including vinegar, milk, baking soda, mouthwash, and Neem oil.
Not every plant responds the same in every climate to these quick fixes, so you may have to test them out one by one to see what works best on your vegetables. Mildew is going to thrive in dry, warm climates, so even water can sometimes help to remove the mildew.
The most susceptible vegetable plants to powdery mildew are:
While most plants are susceptible to this issue, you’ll find it more often on plants like cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini plants. The spores can spread with the wind, so try to catch and treat them early on to protect the rest of your crop.
- Fruit Trees
In the past when I’ve dealt with powdery mildew it always started on my Tomato plants. I’ve tended to find if I plant my veggies too early in the season is when I deal with this. Now I wait as long as possible for the garden to dry out.
Here are things to try to get rid of Powdery Mildew on Plants
If the plant is more established you can remove the leaves that are affected. Then go about with spraying the plant. Here is a popular solution that I used in the past and had success with.
A homemade solution of: mix one tablespoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of vegetable oil and one teaspoon of liquid soap (not detergent) to a gallon of water. Spray on plants every one to two weeks.
Be aware that this mix can burn the leaves of plants so you will need to put it in a sprayer and spray the plants evenly. To prevent your plants from being burned by the mixture water them well a few days prior to application.
I’ve used this mixture on our plants last year and it worked fine. I was able to still have a nice harvest of tomatoes and zucchinis. The key is to catch it early.
Always apply the mixture early morning or late evening when the sun isn’t blasting the plants.
For effective organic fungicides for treating powdery mildew include sulfur, lime-sulfur, neem oil, and potassium bicarbonate. These are most effective when used prior to infection or when you first see signs of the disease.
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