Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fighting The Good Fight: Powder Mildew on Squash

So amidst the hubabloo of the last week crunch to Bug's big 3rd birthday party, my wonderful organic gardens were afflicted with a blight... my wonderfully producing squashes suddenly stopped producing... and the vines seemed to be rotting in the ground, the leaves covered in a powdery white substance. 

Before I knew really what was happening it had spread to the pumpkins, the zucchini and cucumbers. So I knew I needed to fix this FAST and of course needed an organic solution. So a few quick google searches turned up a solution. Nine parts water to 1 part milk... in a spray bottle.Sprayed directly on the leaves and stems of the squashes will kill the powder mildew. 
So I started doing one dose every two days. After 6 days my squash is almost completely mildew free as well as beginning to regrow new vines and leaves. Suddenly what was a quickly dwindling squash crop is suddenly flourishing again. I plan to try this on our strawberries too tomorrow and a few other plants that look like they may be getting the same affliction. Most of the things I found said this works better as a prevention than a cure but so far it seems to be working.. you just have to spray it every few days, instead of the once a week for a prevention. 
I haven't found anything though on the science behind this. From my own science background... taking a shot in the dark I would the lactic acid may be a natural fungicide, or that perhaps the lactobacillus bacteria in the milk eats the mold.
So if in the hot, humid summer we have had this problem has hit your own organic garden.... go ahead and try this easy and fast cure.

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