My squash patch is in a sad state of affairs. I'm well aware that it's mostly my fault, because I planted too many plants too closely together, allowing too little air circulation (and all the rain we've been getting sure hasn't helped). This is the lovely powdery mildew that has been appearing on the great majority of my leaves:
For the past 2-3 weeks, I have been battling this mildew as it spreads like wildfire through my six squash plants, two zucchini plants, and more recently my five cucumbers plants.
Here's what my squash plants looked like before (except enormously bigger- this picture was taken almost two months ago):
Here's what they look like after 3 weekends of reconstructive surgery:
Can you see the difference? Note the stark absence of those green thingamabobs… LEAVES!
At first, I dealt with it timidly, trying to leave enough leaves that there would still be a good deal of shade protecting my precious squash. Bad idea. The mildew realized that I was a pushover and it delighted in giving orders to it's cronies to step in and begin a full assault on what remained.
The second time, I was much better. Any leaf that had a good amount of mildew was gone, whether it left a shady spot or not. The third time, I was ruthless. If it maybe, possibly was affected by the mildew, it didn't make the cut (lol, well actually, that's exactly what happened- it did get cut!). You can see the result is a bit devastating.
I even pulled up my darling zucchini plant, the one that has been inundating my kitchen with dinner after dinner containing that lovely green veggie. It had been a good little plant, and though I hated to see it go, it had been severely affected so I opted to just pull it up all at once.
Aside from getting a bit garden-clipper happy, I have been dealing with the mildew by spraying all of the leaves in the area with two things.
1) First, a combination of about a cup of water, with 1/4 tsp of baking soda.
2) Secondly (and possibly more effectively, though it's so hard to tell), with a mixture of milk and water, in a 1:9 ratio (1 part milk, 9 water).
My biggest concern right now is to protect these:
They don't look like much, what with half of their leaves stripped off, but from left to right you see a pickling cucumber, a lemon cucumber, a Japanese long cucumber (it broke accidentally, and is very short, but it's still producing near the ground), and then two more pickling cucumbers. We have been enjoying them only a few short weeks, and I hope to can so many more pickles than the 1 quart I've canned so far (which are so good!), and if the plants can keep going a few more weeks then it looks like I will.
On a good note, let me show you my lovely tomatoes:
Those wooden stakes sticking through are 5 ft tall, so you can see that the plants are really taking off! Due to so much cool weather here, they aren't quite ripe (although my very first cherry toms are just ripening as I write this!), but they will be very shortly!
And now, two questions for you.
1) The squash on the left is spaghetti squash. The squash on the right doesn't look like anything that I purposefully planted (it's the same shape as the spaghetti, but it's going to turn orange or some other color, I believe). Please, name that mystery squash variety that I am about to be surprised by!
2) What is wrong with my corn? Is it a mold? An insect problem? Something different altogether? Should I pull it out of the garden right away? I can't find the answer online or in any of my books.
I'm still loving my garden, despite it's current issues, and am just praying for enough heat to ripen all my tomatoes, my cucumbers to be protected just a little longer, and the powdery mildew to be held off long enough for my squash to finish ripening (I figure I need 3-4 more weeks, but what do I know?).