Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Country Garden Showcase #34

Happy Gardening
May this post find you well and enjoying the bounty of your labor.  Our weather cooled down this week giving me a needed kick in the seat to perform some garden maintenance.  

Here's my list...
harvest vegetables
fertilize vegetables
remove celery seeds to dry in a sheet 
remove dried onion and leek seeds
tie up/support growing tomato plants
prune tomato vines
tie up blackberry vines
tie up cucumbers and butternut squash
use homemade fungicide to treat powdery mildew
prune out/dead head herb flowers
remove and dehydrate chamomile flowers
remove and dehydrate herbs ie: Texas Terragon, Cinnamon Basil, Peppermint, Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme

Here's tonight's harvest which includes some green tomatoes that fell while I tied the growing tops.  I'll turn them into green enchilada sauce.

It's been another hot and humid summer so far yet I have seen very little powdery mildew. I have been pretty lucky, but it finally reared its ugly head this week. To treat it I alternate between two easy to make home remedies: a milk/water fungicide and a dish soap/baking soda fungicide.

Before I apply a fungicide, I first try to cut down on the spore count by removing all visibly infected leaves/stems with clippers, placing them into a plastic garbage bag, and seal.  Get them off the property ASAP.  Then spray the entire plant and any other plants within 100' from the same plant family.   

I use the milk fungicide first, and if I still see infection in seven days, I switch to the baking soda/dish soap recipe.  I alternate back and forth between the fungicides every seven days if needed to slow down the pest's ability to adapt and overcome the chemicals.

A few tips to remember-
Do not spray on days that you expect to reach 90 degrees F or higher.  The plants can burn.

It is best to spray plants in the morning early, so the leaves dry before the sun can burn them.  

Try not to spray at night because cool moist overnight temperatures can spread disease and weaken plants.

The milk fungicide needs to be applied on a sunny day to work, while the baking soda recipe works best on cloudy days.

Overhead watering systems spread disease.  If you have the option to use a drip or row watering system that prevents or lessens the likelihood of water being sprayed on plant leaves, use it, especially during hot, humid weather.  

Homemade Fungicide Recipes-

#1- Milk Fungicide- 
Mix at a ratio of 9 parts water to 1 part milk.  Pour into sprayer and saturate the plant leaves and stems.  It's best to spray in the morning on a sunny day.  If your sprayer has such pressure that the mixture doesn't fix to leaves you can add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the mix.  Mix well.

#2- Baking Soda/Dish Soap Fungicide-
In a clean empty milk jug mix the following:

1 gallon of water
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid (or brand of your choosing)

Mix the ingredients together, add them to a spray bottle, and spray preferably during the morning or on an overcast day. 

I hope you don't need to use these recipes, but if you do; use precautions to protect yourself from overspray and sun exposure ie: gloves, long sleeved shirts, mouth, nose, and eye protection.

I look forward to reading about your progress in the garden this week too.  Please link up and share... and remember that recipes for yummy goodies made from your garden bounty and anything that you can trace back to a garden are always welcome too!

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