Slugs and Snails can eat a plant overnight, only the bare stem remaining, if that. Some good strategies are below. For important details, please see University of California, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Snails and Slugs
- Remove hiding places – leave a few hiding places (traps), remove the snails that gather there
- Use drip irrigation to reduce humidity and moist surfaces = less habitat
- Choose snail proof plants as possible
- Use copper barriers
- Make habitat for natural enemies ie tall poles for birds
- Use bait like Sluggo/Escar-Go. Sluggo is organic, safe for birds and animals, pets and children, can be used on the day of harvest, and is effective even after watering or rain! Is it really ‘organic?’ See this article by conscientious Golden Gate Gardener
Aphids/White Flies Season Keep an eye out for these critters in your broccoli, cabbages and kale. The simplest thing to do is spray ‘em with a jet of water from the hose, both topside and underneath the leaves! If the infestation gets beyond your tolerance, or the plant gets badly stunted or loses its healthy shape, remove the plant – don’t compost it. Don’t procrastinate on this because aphids/white flies spread quickly. This is one of the prime reasons to plant the same kind of plant in separate groupings or areas, rather than all in a row or a bunch, so the invaders can’t walk plant to plant. If you do that, plant them far enough apart so their leaf tips don’t touch, or keep them trimmed so they don’t. Keep a close watch!
Preventing Powdery Mildew! Powdery mildew spores are wind spread to new hosts – that means from your plant to mine, or mine to yours! Powdery Mildew is a common fungal disease that affects many types of plants. The fungus will coat leaves, stems and flowers. It looks like a white fuzz or powder, usually starting on shaded lower leaves, in that damp, humid microclimate, especially if we are watering frequently, not letting the area dry out. This can lead to serious crop damage, low to no production, if left unchecked and can infect crops at any stage of the plants life. However, UC Davis says ‘Powdery mildews generally do not require moist conditions to establish and grow, and normally do well under warm conditions; thus they are more prevalent than many other leaf-infecting diseases under California’s dry summer conditions.’ Darn. More at UC Davis IPM on Powdery Mildew
Here are some inexpensive home remedies:
Prevention: Dilute 1 part nonfat milk, with 10 parts water. Spray liberally on affected plants. Do not spray on plants when in flowering stage. This treatment works so well usually one treatment is sufficient. See about research and more details at Appalachian Feet.
Spraying milk on infected plant leaves with a solution of nine parts water to one part milk has shown to decrease powdery mildew by 90%. It has been reported that milk can boost the plant’s immune system, which also helps to fight powdery mildew and other diseases.
Preventative/Cure: Baking Soda and Epsom Salt Remedy. Baking soda increases pH levels on the leaf surface which will makes it difficult for the fungi spores to survive. Foliar spray the plants liberally. Wash off after one or two days. The solution will leave a white haze on the leaves of the plants which does looks similar to the mildew.
1 quart water, 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) (or 1 Tablespoon to a gallon), 1 T Epsom Salt/Gallon
1 teaspoon cooking oil (canola, soya, whatever)
A drop or two of dishwash or soft soap (to disperse the oil and make it stick)
Apparently it has been found that either the oil or the soda will do the job, but they do better together. However, one needs to test the oil first as some sorts of foliage can be damaged by it.
If the mildew has already taken hold one can get rid of a lot of the spores and make the spray more effective by thoroughly hosing the leaves first.
Milk & Baking Soda is the third possible combination used effectively! Your preference.
Please! Be a good neighbor. Prevent this common fungus, don’t let it blow into your neighbor’s veggies!