Friday, July 22, 2011


Milk fungicide!!

The dreaded powdery mildew has struck again. It has been raining so much the last two weeks, we have hardly had any sun, so the mildew has started on the cucumbers and pumpkins. The courgettes seem OK for now...
In an attempt to find a solution, I did a bit of research and asked around and came up with...milk. Yes, it would appear that there is something in milk that doesn't cure the fungus but stops the spores spreading. So I made up a diluted milk solution and watered it all over the leaves of the cues and squashes. I can help wondering if it will not smell dreadful after a few days? Still, if it stops it spreading long enough to harvest, I will be grateful.
The cucumbers have a few fruit on them, one is about 30cm long but it is still a bit skinny. Hopefully the abundant rain will plump them all up a bit. The melons too have swelled - as they were fleeced and had had Bordeaux Mixture, they seem untouched by the mildew. We are finally eating the courgettes, but they are still a bit slow. I have discovered that a couple of them are those long Italian gourds! SO I have hoisted them up on stakes and tied them in. That will be fun to watch them grow!
The tomatoes are loaded with fruit but it's all green :-( Today has been brighter and full sun in forecast for the next week so I am hoping that our tomato harvest is just a step away.
Yesterday after the milky watering, I did some picking: a handful of strawberries, a courgette, 2 beetroot (finally!), a handful of kale leaves (the first ones, bubble and squeak this weekend!) and 2 sticks of rhubarb which seems to have picked up no end: it really suffered in the drought conditions. I won't pick anymore but I really wanted to make one more crumble before the end of summer. In fact I think the rhubarb is going to get a little haircut and a feed and be pampered a bit as it did look quite sad for a while there.
The harvest is slow but picking up bit by bit.

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