Thursday, July 31, 2008

Organic solution for powdery mildew

The hot and humid weather of late July in Indiana has come and along with it, Powdery Mildew in my garden. My spaghetti squash, zucchini, and especially pumpkins are all affected. So this morning I made up a mixture of 1 cup of skim milk to 9 cups of water and filled a spray bottle so that I could organically get rid of the powdery mildew. It was a lot of work and not very enjoyable since at 10:00am it is already about 80 degrees and 74% humidity. But I managed to refill my spray bottle three times and douse all the affected plants. According to the website I just linked to, a weekly application should be in order. Sigh. I'm still worried about the possibility of squash vine borer infestation, but for now it doesn't seem to be a problem (with the exception of one lost zucchini plant).

Meanwhile, the harvest continues. I continue to get at least 2-3 cucumbers a day. This morning I picked 3, one of which is a record breaker in length at a whopping 16 inches.
Also, here is a photo that is representative of the tomatoes I'm harvesting each day lately.This isn't a huge amount, but we're getting that much every day. It's starting to be more than we can eat. This particular example shows one Better Boy, two Romas, several large grape tomatoes, and scads of cherry tomatoes. At this point, the majority are still cherry tomatoes. They are the Sweet 100 variety and they live up to their name. When I buy tomatoes at the grocery store, grape tomatoes are always sweeter than cherry tomatoes. But in these homegrown tomatoes, the cherry are far sweeter than the grape. I am going to cut back on the number of mini tomatoes I grow next year, and I think I'll stick solely to the Sweet 100 cherries.

As for dealing with the backlog of cherry tomatoes, I discovered via the internet that you can dry cherry tomatoes to save for later use. The other day I sliced a cookie tray full of cherry tomatoes, laid them cut side up on the tray, and baked them in the oven at 200 degrees for at least 4 hours. They probably could have gone a little longer, but I had to leave the house and didn't want to leave the oven on. So I put them in a baggie and put it in the freezer. That should be fine. I can rehydrate them and add them to soups for seasoning this winter. I'll probably end up doing that again as the cherries continue to ripen. The number of green cherries still on the vine far outnumbers what I've picked so far.

Today's local weather:
High temp: 86 F
Low temp: 68 F
Hot and very humid

1 comment:

Houston Garden Girl said...

I have powdery mildew right now on my fall squash plants. Did the milk/water combo work for you?