FIGHT THE ‘DEW

Can you spot the huge praying mantis on the mildewed squash?

While manning the PTF table at our most recent event and fielding a whole slew of questions – one was “how can I fight powdery mildew.”  Is it just me but (warning an off topic tangent alert) what ever happened to polite greetings like “hi, how are you?”  Instead of “I have a couple questions, number one….”  My family and I are people not just walking encyclopedias.  Just curious where common human courtesy goes to these day’s  OK, tangent over — now, back to the question.

Simple, fight the ‘dew with milk.  Yep, milk.

With the long drawn out days of summer vegetables become more stressed and susceptible to ailments like mildew.  In such “tweener” seasons, all gardens start to look a bit on the haggard or raggedy side.   But with good maintenance and upkeep you can lessen the plants susceptibility to a whole slew of pests and disease.

Longtime gardeners know that simple garden solutions can be found not at the local nursery but in your own kitchen.

Milk as a Garden Fungicide for Powdery Mildew, Botrytis, and Black Spots

Milk is a useful fungicide in the garden, and is more effective than standard chemical brands.

Researchers believe the potassium phosphate in milk boosts a plant’s immune system to fight the fungi.

Where most organic gardeners use a baking soda, soap and oil solution, milk may be substituted to combat the unwanted fungus.

Read full article

Do you have any simple, household garden solutions?  Care to share?

Comments(20)

  1. Living The Frugal Life says:

    Wow! That’s great! Thank you for the pointer. I will definitely use this tip next year. My squash are all done for the year already. I’d love to hear about any other non-toxic garden treatments you use or know of.

    I have a recipe for homemade bug spray, which I’ve used with great success on cabbages and kale. Don’t use it on chard though; the chard apparently can’t take the bite.

    Here’s my page with the recipe:
    http://livingthefrugallife.blogspot.com/2008/07/homemade-and-non-toxic-bug-spray.html

    -Kate

  2. Living The Frugal Life says:

    Wow! That’s great! Thank you for the pointer. I will definitely use this tip next year. My squash are all done for the year already. I’d love to hear about any other non-toxic garden treatments you use or know of.

    I have a recipe for homemade bug spray, which I’ve used with great success on cabbages and kale. Don’t use it on chard though; the chard apparently can’t take the bite.

    Here’s my page with the recipe:
    http://livingthefrugallife.blogspot.com/2008/07/homemade-and-non-toxic-bug-spray.html

    -Kate

  3. Talithia says:

    You are so right we as people need to remember that ya’ll are also living breathing humans with lives outside of this journal. I do love all of you as if you were part of my own family. Hey I write to ya’ll more than my “real” family. Thanks for the tip as our squash had powdery mildew. I will try next summer.. Kindness and love

  4. Talithia says:

    You are so right we as people need to remember that ya’ll are also living breathing humans with lives outside of this journal. I do love all of you as if you were part of my own family. Hey I write to ya’ll more than my “real” family. Thanks for the tip as our squash had powdery mildew. I will try next summer.. Kindness and love

  5. Susan says:

    🙂

    You guys are the ‘doctors’ of the gardening world, in more ways than one! Welcome to the world of the expert!

    Sorry that happened, but really it’s a compliment in a backhand way.

  6. Susan says:

    🙂

    You guys are the ‘doctors’ of the gardening world, in more ways than one! Welcome to the world of the expert!

    Sorry that happened, but really it’s a compliment in a backhand way.

  7. Lee says:

    Oh wow I wish I had known this a few months ago! All of my squash was killed off early this year from fungus, I didn’t discover the baking soda idea soon enough either, I’ll be trying milk next time! Thanks so much for the pointer this will no doubt come in handy next spring!

  8. Lee says:

    Oh wow I wish I had known this a few months ago! All of my squash was killed off early this year from fungus, I didn’t discover the baking soda idea soon enough either, I’ll be trying milk next time! Thanks so much for the pointer this will no doubt come in handy next spring!

  9. Judith says:

    Kate, thanks so much for the organic spray recipe. We had powdery mildew on our summer squash this summer which I tried to finally remedy by cutting off leaves. I have since read that you do not want to cut off too many leaves or it retards the plant. We tried the bicarbonate soda spray, but I think it had gotten too far. Now we have it on our winter squash leaves and I’m starting early. I’ll try the milk.
    I’m a bit concerned about Kate’s spray because I’ve also read that anything you touch your environment can have an effect on beneficial bugs. Oh, what to do!!

  10. Judith says:

    Kate, thanks so much for the organic spray recipe. We had powdery mildew on our summer squash this summer which I tried to finally remedy by cutting off leaves. I have since read that you do not want to cut off too many leaves or it retards the plant. We tried the bicarbonate soda spray, but I think it had gotten too far. Now we have it on our winter squash leaves and I’m starting early. I’ll try the milk.
    I’m a bit concerned about Kate’s spray because I’ve also read that anything you touch your environment can have an effect on beneficial bugs. Oh, what to do!!

  11. Erik Hovland says:

    I used baking soda with good results. But as with any infestation, start early and spray often. Southern California is bad with the mildew. I suggest that for all squash that is near any sprinklers that you start spraying as soon as you get the first real leaves. Spray either after every sprinkler run or about every 4 to 7 days. More often if necessary.

    My baking soda recipe (compiled from the net):
    1 quart of water
    1 teaspoon of baking soda
    half to one teaspoon of dishwashing soap

    The dishwashing soap helps it cling to the leaves and happens to be a good afid remedy.

  12. Erik Hovland says:

    I used baking soda with good results. But as with any infestation, start early and spray often. Southern California is bad with the mildew. I suggest that for all squash that is near any sprinklers that you start spraying as soon as you get the first real leaves. Spray either after every sprinkler run or about every 4 to 7 days. More often if necessary.

    My baking soda recipe (compiled from the net):
    1 quart of water
    1 teaspoon of baking soda
    half to one teaspoon of dishwashing soap

    The dishwashing soap helps it cling to the leaves and happens to be a good afid remedy.

  13. Stacy says:

    I use a few different things. Milk is one, and cornmeal (not corn gluten) is another. I bought a twenty pound bag at the local nursery for about $12. I throw hand fulls of the stuff on the leaves and directly on the soil. Then give it a quick mist to just get it wet. It promotes growth of some other type of fungus that crowds out the bad fungus. Here in Houston the mildew is bad and I use it every week. If I forget a few weeks then forget it. It’s too late!

  14. Stacy says:

    I use a few different things. Milk is one, and cornmeal (not corn gluten) is another. I bought a twenty pound bag at the local nursery for about $12. I throw hand fulls of the stuff on the leaves and directly on the soil. Then give it a quick mist to just get it wet. It promotes growth of some other type of fungus that crowds out the bad fungus. Here in Houston the mildew is bad and I use it every week. If I forget a few weeks then forget it. It’s too late!

  15. Living The Frugal Life says:

    Judith, I understand your concern about harming beneficials. I don’t know for a fact, but I’m pretty convinced that my spray doesn’t actually kill anything. It just encourages things that would munch my cabbage to go find less offensive things to munch. Given the mild ingredients in my spray, I doubt that any insects would actually die from exposure to it. This is definitely in the category of things that must be applied early and often. It’s much less effective as a deterrent when the nasties are already established. It certainly doesn’t kill eggs or caterpillars that are already there.

    -Kate

  16. Living The Frugal Life says:

    Judith, I understand your concern about harming beneficials. I don’t know for a fact, but I’m pretty convinced that my spray doesn’t actually kill anything. It just encourages things that would munch my cabbage to go find less offensive things to munch. Given the mild ingredients in my spray, I doubt that any insects would actually die from exposure to it. This is definitely in the category of things that must be applied early and often. It’s much less effective as a deterrent when the nasties are already established. It certainly doesn’t kill eggs or caterpillars that are already there.

    -Kate

  17. Carrie says:

    I tried the milk spray on my cucurbits this summer with no success 🙁 Last week I cut my losses and ripped them all out (winter squash, zucchini, and cucumbers) and put some basil in their place. I think I didn’t catch it early enough, and my plants had the added stress of growing in containers so they couldn’t put down extra roots from the stalk because there was no soil outside the container (they’re on a balcony in Chicago). My bee balm has the mildew now but I’m ignoring it. Next time I think I’ll just try growing powdery mildew resistant varieties so I don’t have to deal with it.

  18. Carrie says:

    I tried the milk spray on my cucurbits this summer with no success 🙁 Last week I cut my losses and ripped them all out (winter squash, zucchini, and cucumbers) and put some basil in their place. I think I didn’t catch it early enough, and my plants had the added stress of growing in containers so they couldn’t put down extra roots from the stalk because there was no soil outside the container (they’re on a balcony in Chicago). My bee balm has the mildew now but I’m ignoring it. Next time I think I’ll just try growing powdery mildew resistant varieties so I don’t have to deal with it.

  19. Handful says:

    Fasinating! If only I had known. My zukes were so very sad.

    Thanks for the tip!

  20. Handful says:

    Fasinating! If only I had known. My zukes were so very sad.

    Thanks for the tip!

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