Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Control of Powdery Mildew and Early Spring Blooms

La Ronge lake ice May 14
The John Deer heavy-duty wagon has been wheeling around the yard, moving the heavy pots, compost, and potting soil, and sometimes children.  It finally feels and even smells like spring, though it started to rain this evening.  However, that will help the newly planted seeds in the flower beds and vegetable garden.  The frogs are orchestrating a wall of sound from the nearby marshes and I heard the honk of a solitary duck this afternoon.  Soon, we will stock up on bug spray, the "perfume of northern gardeners", and the children will look like they were struck with a pox virus.
May 14: My first daffodils
 My first daffodils are growing in a raised bed with afternoon shade, so they were probably late compared to others in town.  These ones also seem to have stubby stems, but at least the wind and rain are unlikely to bother them!

Alpine garden - waiting for blooms

Pushkinia libanotica, a spring-blooming bulb

Eranthis hyemalis
 The Eranthis is probably the smallest plant in the yard.  Frankly, no one but me would notice them.  I took the super-close picture just to document its existence.  Each little flower and stem is about the size of the the very end of my little finger.
In the indoors garden, I finally discovered the magic potion for getting rid of powdery mildew problems!  Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that shows up as tiny black spots on leaves, followed by weakening and death of the plant if all the leaves become affected.  The best part is that it's nearly free.  I read about the milk and baking soda solution and was doubtful, but it worked.  I used 1 part milk (1/4 c. in my case) and 3 parts water (3/4 c.) with less than a teaspoon (around 4 mL) of baking soda.  I sprayed this on the leaves every few days and the solution seems to make all the unaffected leaves resistant to the mildew, but does not eradicate the existing mildew on the older leaves (which can be cut off).  I sprayed this solution when I noticed only 1 or 2 affected leaves on the plant and now the plants have many sets of new and unaffected leaves.  I kept the stuff in the refrigerator for the first few weeks, but will probably toss it and make some fresh stuff if I need it again.   

1 comment:

Gra said...

HI there,
good luck with the mildew. We also see it as a white powder on leaves, almost like they have gone moldy. Liquid soap and baking soda is said to work as well although I never tried it.