We’ve had some more rain and now the weather’s warm and humid. Perfect conditions for eating up the cucumber, pumpkin and zuccini vines. The disease starts off as a light, white dusting on the leaves and fruit. Before you know it, the whole vine is turning brown and wilting and the lovely big pumpkins or zuccinis are yellow and withered.
Watering the earth with a dripper system rather than hosing can help, but not a whole lot in a rainy summer like we’ve been having. To keep it in check the vines need to be sprayed with a mixture of milk and water. One part milk to four parts water. Mist it over the whole vine after rain and that should keep your plants reasonably healthy and save most of the crop.
If you have a look at the leaves in the photos, you’ll see that the older ones are turning brown around the edges. While they’re obviously affected by the mildew, this can also be a sign of Potassium deficiency. Digging some potash into the soil will address that. At present I’m having good results adding lots of organic dynamic lifter. The soil here is pretty depleted so it won’t surprise me if it does need potash to fix this properly.
Another disease that can be a problem this time of year is blossom end rot. This little darling strikes as the flowers on your veggie plants are beginning to swell into fruit. The flower wilts and the veggies begin to rot from the flower end. This is also quite easily treated without resorting to chemicals. A bit of lime or dolomite lime dug in to the garden bed when you’re fertilising will “sweeten” the soil and prevent end rot.