Saturday, 9 May 2020

Fungus in The Veggie Garden Begone But Save Water


  • Dealing with Fungal Problems in the Vegetable Garden
So, you’re looking at your spinach and you see holes in the leaves, but they’re all uniform and perfectly formed, right?
What insect does that?
Or, are the stems or your Silverbeet have an ugly blackish brown stain down the middle of them?
Perhaps the leaves have got that rusty look, and definitely look some-one had a go with a blow torch?
Wait, have your cucumber leaves gone all white and crispy, then start turning brown and collapse in a heap in the veggie bed?
  • You probably have read or heard the advice that the most important things you can do to prevent fungal problems is to avoid overwatering, overhead watering and excessive fertilizing and keep your garden free of debris.

O.K. what about some of us that had all that rain?
  • Or you might’ve heard that you need to mulch well and avoid watering the leaves or splashing soil borne particles on the leaves.
One things for sure, you cannot water or fertilise away the problem.
  • Firstly what is this fungus thing anyway? 
Fungus are structures which produce spores.
Disease‑causing fungi penetrate the plant for food during their growth stage, then produce spores which can, in turn, produce new fungus.
The fungus feeds of your plants because not containing chlorophyll, it can’t make its own food.
Did you know that there are two main types of spores?
Short-lived spores which quickly produce new fungus to grow and spread through plants while there is plenty of food.

These spores allow a fungal disease to spread very quickly during the growing season.
Then there’s the  Long-lived spores which are very hardy and allow a
disease to carry over during periods of stress, for example when there is no food.
So what does fungus love?

Which fungus shall I start with.
  • How about powdery mildew?
A fungal disease around a lot in spring and autumn when days are warm and nights are cool.
Powdery mildew is a white or grayish powdery/mouldy growth that you see on the leaves and new shoots.
The leaves look deformed, and will always start to collapse, particularly on the cucurbit family, like Pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers.
  • The leaves are never going to return to a normal appearance, so getting rid of them will help to stop the spreading of fungal spores.
Yes, that includes the ones that have fallen into a crumbled mess in the veggie bed.
The next fungal problem I’m going to mention appeared on my spinach this year. That is Fungal leaf spot.
Having said that, I’ve had several good months of harvesting spinach and silverbeet, so I can’t complain.
There are many types of leaf spot diseases that can affect beetroot, broad beans, carrots celery, peas, potatoes (early blight) silverbeet and tomatoes (targetspot).
Sometimes the leaf spots cause only slight damage, but other times they practically destroy the leaves of the plant in question.
How do I fix this?
Basically, if you’ve already got it, you can’t because as I mentioned, the leaves won’t return to normal, but you can stop the spread to other new leaves and other plants in the garden.
All of these above symptoms signal fungal problems in the garden, a lot of which can be fixed with physical things like improving air circulation around the plants.
You can also dig the problem leaves into the soil since sexual spores of the fungus won’t develop on buried leaves.

In all cases, fungal problems can be treated organically
You can try spraying with a good compost tea, or seaweed extract.
Or secondly, try spraying with bi-carbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate) because it will also kill powdery mildew.
Facebook:To make mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 2 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil with 4 litres of water.
TIP: The sodium in the baking soda will combine with chlorine in your water supply to form table salt (sodium chloride).
A better choice is potassium bicarbonate where the potassium becomes a plant nutrient.
This product is available from your garden centre or nursery and is also sold online.
I’ll put a link to the name on my website and facebook page.

Saving Water and Soil Wetters
The weather has started to cool especially in some districts, however, there are still others that are experiencing warm conditions.
Not far from many gardeners thoughts, are saving water.
For those on town water, the water bill may seem pretty high but if you’re relying on tank water, then water may need to be conserved ever so carefully.

In this next segment, Steve and I go through some water saving tactics, some old some new.
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from
Let’s find out .

There are plenty of water saving tips that you could try if you're not doing that already.
  1. Wash your vegetables in a tub of water
  2. Run-off the cold water for your shower into a bucket or watering can
  3. Direct the water from your washing machine onto the garden.
  • Grey water is not regarded as sterile. You should not be storing grey water.
  • Not safe for edible plants.

How Wetting Agents Work?

Soils that have been dry for a long period or are low in organic matter may become water repellant.
When you water, it tends to run off or pool on the surface.
Why? soil particles develop waxy coating.
Wetting agents contain molecules that adhere to waxy particles and water at the same time.
When applied to the soil, the molecule grabs onto the soil particle that's coated in wax, so that when you water,  the water gets grabbed by the wetting agent so the water penetrates the soil.

If you have any questions of course, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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