Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dr. Fungicide to the garden, stat!

Is there a doctor in the house? We need help stat and our current health insurance plan doesn't have plant doctor listed under specialists. We have something a little bit wrong with a lot of our plants and I just plain don't know how to fix them. Our garden is turning into a M.A.S.H. unit and Hawkeye is AWOL.

Farmer B came home tonight with a small bottle of Thuricide BT Caterpillar Control by Southern Ag. I know something has eaten two of our small green tomatoes on one of our tomato plants, but I don't know what. Since we've seen the tomato/tobacco hornworms on them in the past, we're going to use this since we've heard it's quite safe for the garden. I've read that complete coverage of the tops and bottoms of the leaves is a must, so we'll work on that this week. I assume we only use this on the tomato plants, but what do I know? Maybe I can spray other half-eaten leaves with it as well.

But something is eating a lot of our plants - again, I don't know what. While Farmer B was at Home Depot, he eyed up two products that he thinks might work for our garden - Organocide and Liquid Copper Fungicide.

Both seem promising since they seem to cover a lot of different issues and since we have no clue what's wrong, we need something to cover all the bases. I've been looking for reviews on both products, but have come up dry so far. We're leaning toward the Organocide because it says it kills bugs and powdery mildew too.

There is a chance our pumpkins have some sort of powdery mildew on them. I call everything we've got "MMFVI" for mystery-mildew-fungus-viral-insect issue. And the pumpkins have a severe case of MMFVI. I read that you can spray them with a half-and-half mixture of water and 2% milk to help with any powdery mildew issues so I think that can't hurt right? Apparently you spray this after rain or watering and it should help clear things up. As long as our pumpkin plants aren't lactose intolerant, we'd be good to go.
It is so frustrating staring at a list of DIY solutions and home improvement store chemicals and rolling the dice to see which one you should spray on your garden. Should we be mixing up soapy water, milk and water, epsom salts and water, using fungicide, Organocide or maybe playing classical music in the garden? We're trying to keep it all as natural as possible, but it is a lot harder than I ever anticipated.

4 comments:

Kim said...

The important thing is to figure out what's causing the problem. That way you know which product to use. If you can't make a diagnosis on your own, bring an affected part of the plant to your local Extension office. The nice folks there can help you figure out what's going on and how best to deal with the problem. Good luck!

engineeredgarden said...

Kate - there are several factors that contribute to powdery mildew. I would do a google search on it, and there will be tons of pages on it. The diluted milk mixture is supposed to help alot. Try it out, it might work great for you. About the BT....it works excellent on all leaf chewing worms, but that is all.....and is completely organic. You will need another pesticide for other harmful pests.

Sinfonian said...

I had bad PM on my cukes this year, and the cukes kept growing regardless. So I'm not too worried about it. Though I'm not going to compost them, hehe. Good luck with your pumpkins!

Kate and Crew said...

I think I'll have to take Kim's advice and make that long trek to the local extension office that I've been putting off. Throwing two small kids in carseats and driving across town with plant pieces in hand in a mad rush to get back for preschool seems like a recipe for disaster - but so is my garden, so I think I'll make that trek next week. In the meantime I might try to douse mine with the milk mixture since I don't think it can hurt.

Thanks all!!

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