We’ve been getting so much rain lately that I am worried about Powdery Mildew (PM) and other fungal and bacterial diseases caused by too much rain. It is a blessed curse. The garden takes off and really grows from all the rain but the conditions are right for PM so I am trying to take precautions by doing several things to be as preventative as possible.
First I’m cleaning out all dead or yellow leaves that are usually underneath the canopy of the squashes and beans and tomatoes. I use clippers to cut out the dead stems or yellow leaves (like on the tomatoes) and I sterilize them between each plant so not to spread any diseases that the plant may have that I don’t know about yet. The idea is to clean up under the canopy of leaves and provide more air space. I have a small container that I fill with 4 cups of water and I put in about 1/4 cup bleach and use this as a disinfectant for my clippers and gloves. I just dip my clippers and hand with my glove into the container and then move onto the next plant. You can use isopropyl alcohol instead but you could go through a lot of alcohol and the bleach works just as well. The next thing I do is spray weekly with Neem and baking soda or instead use copper fungicide which is stronger but still organic. I think the Neem and baking soda are more preventative and if you get some fungal diseases then the copper can kill it. Copper is organic but one still needs to follow the directions but you can spray it right up to the day of harvest. All of these need to be sprayed on both the top and underneath the leaves and have to be resprayed if it rains. The third thing I’m doing this year is using a biofungicide that is used as a drench. This is new to me but it is just certain soil organisms that help the plant ward off many fungal and bacterial diseases. I’m using it on my giant pumpkins and will let you know how they do. Another biofungicide is Mycostop which is also suppose to do the same thing. There may be others out there, just google biofungicides.