Thursday, July 10, 2014

Win A Few, Lose A Few

Rats.  I think I have a bad case of downy mildew.  Or rather my broccoli plants do.

It's obviously all over for this plant.

This one is still looking robust but . . . 

. . . symptoms of the disease are showing.

Downy mildew is caused by halyoperonospora parastica.  (Aren't you glad to know that?)

Optimum conditions which favor the disease development and spread are:

~  Night time temps of 46° to 61° for four
or more successive nights
(Check, got that.)

~  Day time temps of 75° or lower
(Check, got that.)

~  High humidity
(Check, got that.)

~  Fog
(Check, got that.)

~  Drizzle
(Check, got that.)

~ Heavy dew
(Check, got that.)

~ Overcast days
(Check, got that.)

~ Spore spread by wind or water
(Check, got that.)

I've never had a problem with downy mildew before.  These broccoli plants were purchased at a greenhouse because, you might remember, I had a terribly low success rate starting my seedlings this year. I've never used anything but seedlings I started myself for veggies in the garden, so I'm wondering if I could have brought the spore in with the purchased seedlings since seedlings are supposedly very susceptible to the disease.  Although, I realize the spores could have been just hangin' around, and since our conditions have been perrr-fect for them this year, that could have kicked them into gear, too.

It's not the end of the world for us, but can you imagine a truck farmer who has a whole field infected with halyoperonospora parastica?  Ugh.


Mark said...

Bummer! Wow, that's ugly! Is there anything you can do save the plants that aren't really bad yet?

My nemesis this year seems to be potato bug. I doused 'em again tonight with DE, along with every one of the plants. De I and I think the next step will be to put some temporary fencing up and turn some of the chickens loose in there.

Sue said...

I'm LOVING this cold summer, but yea, it's a problem for a lot of plants. Sorry about the broccoli---that's always a favorite of ours and a year without broccoli? Unthinkable.
I'm looking at an OK crop, but since I can't eat it this year (darn allergy testing!!) most will end up in the freezer and you lose that "crisp" texture I so adore.
My sweet potatoes are especially "lethargic" this summer. I think they don't like 40's at night-they and the tomatoes are staging a protest-LOL!
( I do, however!)

Mama Pea said...

Mark - I'm going to destroy all the broccoli plants because it seems the spore is so easily spread . . . to just about anything in the garden like lettuce, squash, beans, all brassicas. I'll plant some fall broccoli and hope for the best although I've never had much luck with fall planting as our heavy frosts arrive way too soon.

Those darn potato bugs can be awful, too. Our chickens might go for the bugs but I know they'd scratch heck out of the hills around the potato plants! Good luck!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - I'm amazed you can usually grow sweet potatoes in your climate. (Do you use electric or L.P. heaters to keep them warm enough at night?)

We're still snuggling under our down comforter these nights. Feels good . . . but somehow so wrong! If it weren't for the garden, both hubby and I would have no complaints about our "cold" summer.

Anonymous said...

Yep, got that too! BTW, it is so interesting that you had problems with seedlings. So did I and many other folks that I have talked with. It's as if the plants themselves "knew" that this was going to be a terrible gardening year. I should have taken the hint! Oh and guess what--it is raining as I write this. Arrgh!-M

Mama Pea said...

M - Raining here, too. :o(

Great day for getting inside things done. I may just spend some time in my quilt room. Or cook and bake to restock the freezer. Never a state of having nothing to do, pursue or occupy our time, is there? :o)

Susan said...

As my dear friend, Kay, used to say, well holey crap, Mama Pea! If it's not one thing, it's five more. That is a very sad looking plant - I hope it's not too contagious. I think that homegrown seedlings tend to be much stronger and healthier. This being said by one who has no luck whatsoever raising them. I blame it on the cats.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Ha! We've been saying that a lot around here lately: "If it's not one thing . . . " If you read up on downy mildew, it makes you think you'll lose the whole garden. It's that easy to infect other plants. Gak! Hubby wanted to try to save the remaining broccoli plants but I'm pulling them out and burying them 10 feet underground. Or maybe burning them in a large bonfire. Or . . . . First, I have to wait for the rain to subside (yes, again today) to go out into the garden.

Sparkless said...

We would not have that with our hot dry temps but most of my plants are now shriveling up and not looking good because of the 40C (104F) temps we are getting. Looks to continue into next week too. UG! I'll trade you your weather for ours?

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - Omigosh! You are really getting some hot, hot summer weather. Hard to keep anything watered enough to keep growing in temps like that. Hope you cool down soon.

Leigh said...

I need to show this post to certain of my plants that somehow think they qualify to have downy mildew. The only thing we have in common on your list is high humidity! Temps are about 70 to low 90s, no rain (for weeks) no fog, no nothing. :(

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Try planting Amaranth around your cucumbers and potatoes. The bugs seem to like that better than my plants and much better to sacrifice it.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Someone told me that copper spray will take care of the mildew. Call your university extension office and they should be able to help, they have a lot of material on gardening. Your link may be here

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