Honey Buns and Cukes

honey bun canteloupe blossomThe cucurbits are looking good, my friends. Although POD still needs to get a few bright blossoms on deck to attract pollinators, decorate the mulch with aluminum foil to repel aphids, spritz with POD’s special sauce to ward off mildews and bugs, and snip a tomato cage to turn it into a cucumber trellis. Soon.

Mildew Voodoo

Oh, the plants on deck are happy. So happy. Sure, they get plenty of water, but nothing beats a nice, gentle soaking from Mother Nature.

Or does it? In this South Philly zone 7(ish) garden, summer showers are usually followed by a tropical heatwave. Tropical heat + cucurbits = powdery mildew.

As the ever-patient garden widower would would mumble, “Damn farmers, never happy.”

Powdery mildew  (a fungal disease that’s no fun at all) is one of the inevitable POD kill-joys. So this year, we’re giving You Grow Girl’s mildew spray (sorta’ — POD’s adding a little milk to the mix and shrinking proportions) a shot and hoping that it’ll keep those filmy white spots away from the Boothby Blonde, True Lemon, Minnesota Midget, and Mystery Melon.

POD's Powdery Mildew Spray

POD’s Powdery Mildew Spray
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4  tsp.  thick, non-detergent soap
2 c. water
2 c.  skim milk

Mix the ingredients together, pour it into a spray bottle. Shake. Spray the mixture all over your plants, make sure you hit the undersides of the leaves. Apply once a week and after a rainfall.

Death by Powder

Well, thank goodness POD’s cucumbers were just about ready for retirement.  They survived a minor case of leaf spot and random blight but powdery mildew did them in.

powdery mildew
powdery mildew

It’s not a surprise, really. Temperatures have cooled and light has waned: a perfect recipe.

Unfortunately, the Minnesota Midgets have also been touched. Because there are at least six melonettes ripening, the most affected leaves have been snipped and the rest drenched in a dripping coat of Neem.

disease-stunted lemon cucumber
disease-stunted lemon cucumber