Cucuribits and fungal woes

jocoynJuly 29, 2014

I am really struggling and the various cures and descriptions have me baffled. Everyone one of my squash (hubbard,butternut,crookneck), pumpkin, cantaloupe, cucumber, has fought the battle of fungi on the leaves all summer.

The butternut is worst and I don't know how long before I can just yank it up...the 7 squash on that are turning tan but have some way to go

The hubbard is least impacted, and really the pumpkin not so bad.

the crookneck-only the old leaves seem to suffer and I can just cut them off.

The cucumber seems to have a different issue with yellow wet spots that are brown, not white underneath.

The watermelon gets brown spots on the ends of the leaves but it does not seem to be a severe issue

I have tried milk. I have tried NEEM, I have tried baking soda - I cut off the most impacted leaves but if I cut of all infected leaves, my plants would have none.

Today is going to be a clear low humidity day so at dawn, I went out and flooded the leaves of all plants with water, let them dry..and sprayed with NEEM+baking soda with a little Dr Bronners solution...flooded the tops and bottoms of every leaf (I first went through and removed as many infected leaves as I felt I could)

I would love advice for making it through this season. I would like to bring my existing fruits to maturity. We could sacrifice the cukes if need be but the rest would be very nice to keep. I am working on a strategy for next year.

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Same issues. I'm on Long Island. Here are my dying cucumber, pumpkin, & squash plants. I've been spraying them weekly with a sulphur/water mix to no avail. Every day, more brown leaves to throw away.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:37AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

sneed, I don't know what started you to spray them.....maybe they were in trouble, but I wonder if the cure is worse than the disease.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:21PM
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I started to spray them because they all got what appeared to be powdery mildew. I had the same issue last year and I tried treating them with a milk/water mix. They all rotted and died.

This post was edited by sneed on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 15:09

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 3:07PM
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All my plants are trellised and I am clipping off the really bad dead leaves but ALL the leaves get this except for the pumpkin (just the old ones) and the watermelon.- though the hubbard is not quite so bad.

The cucumbers are producing like no worry, the canataloupe ...well I have one about the size of a baseball, so I don't know....I have attached a shot I took tonight. There are 7 butternuts I would really like to harvest in due time...

The butternuts - I just really hope to keep them going as they are not THAT far from being harvestable I think. They are definitely tan but you can see the spores on the leaves despite the fact that I have been treating once a week with NEEM and the past two weeks I have used baking soda as well. I did order some potassium bicarbonate-I hear it is better. It seems new growth keeps the plant alive........

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Powdery mildew can be a problem on many varieties of the cucurbit family and understanding something about the pathogen can help in control.
What was the dilution of milk used?
Why was baking soda added to the Neem? I have seen some evidence that while they are effective by themselves mixed together they become ineffective.

Here is a link that might be useful: Powdery Mildew control

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:20AM
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You know I had read about the combo in several places, but I may go back to NEEM alone as it seemed more effective than the combo. I actually have some leaves that were "cured" with the neem...had yellow spots on them but did not develop new spores. but obviously not 100%.

I only used milk once and it was 1 part milk, 2 parts water. The other poster appeared to use the milk more.

Someone on a permaculture site also metioned horsetail tea as a foliar spray and I am looking into that. I am sure the best approach is one that makes the plants strong enough to fight it off.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:29AM
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I found this is I have one zuke that is new and I am treating it and the pumpkin preventively (removing the remaining dead leaves from the pumpkin which is really quite good for the most part)

I have been very careful with NEEM around the blooms and will continue that care but am going to up the frequency to every day I see spores. or every other day if not for a while to see if I can eradicate it. The growing tips and flower buds will still get a BT application due to pickleworms.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC Davis notes on Powdery Mildew

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:42PM
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What I have found is a 50/50 mixture of fat free milk and water works to control PM as does a mixture of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 quart of water, or 1 tablespoon in 1 gallon of water.
Understanding how Powdery Mildew appears and grows can help control it, providing one does not subscribe to the many myths about PM that often appear.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:13AM
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To which myths are you referring?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:28AM
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Pulled out the cukes today in a hope to get better harvest from my watermelons and cantaloupes who were nearby. Too much growth and they were all intertwined so I needed air circulation and the cukes lost.

But this is one tough cookie. I have a new zucchini in another bed and my focus is prevention. I think once you get it on a plant the battle is ongoing. I am keeping the plants alive and producing but it is a lot of work.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 6:17PM
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If it makes you feel any better I am sitting here double checking my register receipt for the groceries I just put away. The half cantaloupe, smallest one there, not organic, was $3.49 on sale . Plus I had to travel to get the price. Closer to home it would have been much higher. :( I sure hope it's a good one.

So your efforts are valuable. Good luck.


This post was edited by plaidbird on Mon, Aug 4, 14 at 19:10

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 6:51PM
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Oh, I think it is a learning curve here. Changing climate. Realizing that 90% of our produce comes from California which is in a major drought. We need to be proactive. Once I get good I am going to get involved in community agriculture/ ans school projects and raised bed gardening will be the way to go in a lot of locales.

I would say no time like the present to "get involved" but between my job and having a mother in our home in hospice there is not a lot of "away" time.

The prices are definitely very high these days and after biting into some of the produce we produced. WOW. I even like okra NOW.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 5:57AM
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