It’s been a wet Summer this year, and our plants are certainly feeling it! Sadly we had to pull out some of our zinnias and melon plants that had been infected with powdery mildew. It probably wouldn’t have killed the plants, but it would have spread to other plants across the garden and prevented our melons from thriving.
Powdery mildew is actually a general name for a family of dusty mold spores that spread quickly in mid-to-late summer.
They’re usually not deadly, but they can affect a plant’s growth and yield.
A variety of factors can cause a plant to be susceptible to mildew, such as dampness and humidity, or lack of high nitrogen levels in the soil.
The best way to prevent Powdery Mildew is to be vigilant! When you see early signs—greyish/whitish spots on the leaves—remove those leaves and dispose of them. For our zinnias, we unfortunately caught it too late.
You can slow the spread of Powdery Mildew by mixing up a homemade solution and spraying it on the leaves. Different folks swear by different things, but these are some common mixtures:
- 1 part milk to 9 parts water
- 1 T baking soda, 1 tsp dish liquid, 1 gallon water
- Cinnamon (or Cinnamon oil) and water
- 2 T hydrogen peroxide mixed into a pint of water