Powdery Mildew on my Veggies?! Practical Gardening Series

Image Michigan State University bulletin, Photo credit: David Gent, USDA-ARS, Bugwood.org

Powdery mildew is a general name for a few different species of fungi that infect several ornamental plants, such as zinnias,Monarda, lilacs, and roses. It also affects vegetables and fruits, including beans, grapes, cucumbers, beets, melons, and squash to name a few. It can affect the flavor and reduce yields of some fruits and vegetables. Prevention and control is important.

Powdery mildew is found throughout North America. It appears as a gray talcum-like powder on leaves and may spread to flowers and fruit. Powdery mildews, as a general rule, do not require moist conditions to establish and grow. Warm days and cool nights—not water—increases spore production.

Organic Gardening offers the following advice:

 

Powdery mildew can be prevented, and it can be controlled once it appears, but it can’t be cured. The key to preventing it is planting mildew-resistant or mildew-tolerant varieties. Resistant varieties get less mildew than susceptible varieties; tolerant varieties may get some mildew, but it shouldn’t affect the performance of the plant. Prevention also includes sitting plants where they will have good air circulation, and exposing as much leaf surface as possible to direct sunlight, which inhibits spore germination.

Homemade Sprays
Research studies in 1999 and 2003 on infected zucchini and winter wheat (respectively) indicated that spraying cow’s milk slowed the spread of the disease.

To try this at home, mix 1 part milk with 9 parts water and spray the stems and tops of leaves with the solution. Reapply after rain.

Spraying leaves with baking soda (1 teaspoon in 1 quart water) raises the pH, creating an inhospitable environment for powdery mildew.

When you first notice the blight, and if it is still minor, pick off affected plant parts, bag them tightly, put them in the trash, and thoroughly wash your hands. I do not recommend composting diseased plant materials—no matter how hot the pile gets.

It’s Mud

 

“Muddy Hands”, courtesy Michelle Bushnell Jones, Easter 2014

Today I feel like a rock stuck in the mud.

I’ve had a demanding strenuous few weeks and been unable to write much beyond compiled research.

This morning I read a post by a fellow writer who shared her family’s muddy play. Happiness filled my office. Thoughts of  their fun with wet and slippery earth remind me of a time when I too played in the muck, made turtles and bowls and added moss to their forms.

Please forgive me for not fulfilling my offering to God to write you a new contemplative piece from nature. Allow me to offer you a short piece written for Holy Saturday in my Lenten book.

Mud pies are fun to make; they are moist and gravelly, squishing between the fingers and cooling warm hands and arms. Much to my mother’s dismay it was my favorite way to play by myself on hot summer days.

 I had a favorite mud hole between my father’s greenhouses and cold-frames. It was a hidden place where the water-line had a slow continuous leak and was partially shaded by multi-trunked weed trees growing within the chain-link fence. A small pile of discarded wood had been pushed in and around the scrubby trees. There was enough of these moss covered boards so that when I sat on them they came just below my knees. This allowed my toes to squish into the edge of the mud as I leaned between my legs to work the water deeper into the soil.

The mud would soon thicken into a slippery mass as I kneaded it. This particular puddle had just the right amount of clay to hold together the soft rotting sticks and leaves. I would squish and squeeze the cool muck, sometimes getting squirted as it oozed between my fingers. Then, when the consistency was just right, being smooth and firm, I would create more than just a pie.

I would make little fairy dishes of cups and saucers, and for the bowls pick moss from the boards and place it inside so they looked to be filled with a salad. Sometimes I would form little animals like dogs or mice. My favorite mud creatures to make were turtles. I would draw patterns on their backs, adding tiny pebbles to accentuate the designs. Talking to myself, and to my little creations, whiled away many a childhood afternoon in a delightful self-absorbed way.

I have always believed that God plays and have often wondered about God playing in the mud. He too must have liked playing this way because He took the water and the clay and squished it around and formed a person. Now God being God could have just willed us into existence, according to Sister Mary Martin, but instead shaped us with a potter’s hand.

In my childhood mind, God played in the dirt just like me. I’m sure He too made silly things, some of which He brought to life. Funny little sea creatures like the puffer fish, geoduck, or a sea-horse, and how did he ever imagine a star-nosed mole or a platypus!

God delighted in creating, in gardens and growing things, and in sharing what He made. He made us in his own image and instilled in us ways to be joyful, and that includes silliness too.

I pray to do better next week…

 

Flowers of the Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin was wrapped around the body of Jesus after it was taken down from the cross. Experts in the natural sciences began examining the shroud toward the end of the twentieth century. Botanical experts on the research team found the imprints of plants and grains of pollen that can serve as seasonal calendar and geographic indicators.

Four plants on the shroud are significant because, as researchers Danin and Baruch report, “…the assemblage…occurs in only one rather small spot on earth, this being the Judean mountains and the Judean Desert of Israel, in the vicinity of Jerusalem.”[1. Danin, et al. Flora of the Shroud of Turin, p. 18.]

Those experts succeeded in identifying thirty-six species of plants[2. More than thirty-six have been found on the shroud but await unequivocal species identification.] on the shroud. They discovered that almost all of the flower images remaining on the cloth and the highest concentration of pollens were where the head of the corpus would have been lying; plant parts and pollens were also located throughout the rest of the shroud.

Plants Found on the Shroud of Turin:[3. Danin, et al. Flora of the Shroud of Turin, p. 12.]

Botanical Name

Common Name (English)

Anabasis aphylla

Anabasis

Acacia albida

Acacia

Artemisia herba-alba

White Wormwood

Atraphaxis spinosa

Atraphaxis

Capparis ovata

Caper

Carduus

Carduus Thistle

Cedrus libanoticus

Cedrus

Echinops glaberrimus

Echinops

Fagonia mollis

Fagonia

Gundelia tournefortii

Tumble Thistle

Haplophyllum tuberculatum

Haplophyllum

Hyoscyamus reticulatus

Henbane

Linum mucronatum

Armenian Flax

Paliurus spina-christi

Jerusalem Thorn, Garland Thorn, or Crown of Thorns

Prosopis farcta

Dwarf Mesquite, Syrian Mesquite

Reaumuria hirtella

Reaumuria

Ricinus communis

Castor Oil Plant

Scabiosa prolifera

Carmel Daisy

Scirpus

Scirpus

Secale

Rye

Suaeda

Seepweed

Tamarix

Salt Cedar

 

The botanists found several factors of particular interest to those studying, even doubting, the authenticity of the shroud. These are some of their findings: 

  1. All the plants are ones that grow in Israel. Of these, twenty are known to grow in Jerusalem itself and eight others grow in the vicinity in the Judean desert or the Dead Sea area.
  2. Although some of these plants are found in Europe, fourteen plants grow only in the Middle East.
  3. Twenty-seven of the plants bloom in the springtime at the same time as the Jewish Passover.
  4.  Zygophyllum dumosum, has both pollen as well as an image on the shroud and grows only in Israel, Jordan and the Sinai region.
  5. Gundelia tournefortii (most frequent of the pollens found by the scientist on the shroud, and is indicative of season) was the plant material found where the Crown-of-Thorns was imprinted around the head on the cloth.

________________________________

Danin, Avinoam, Whanger, Alan D., Baruch, Uri, Whanger, Mary. Flora of the Shroud of Turin. St. Louis, MO; Missouri Botanical Garden Press, 1999.

Flowers of the Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin was wrapped around the body of Jesus after it was taken down from the cross. Experts in the natural sciences began examining the shroud toward the end of the twentieth century. Botanical experts on the research team found the imprints of plants and grains of pollen that can serve as seasonal calendar and geographic indicators.

Four plants on the shroud are significant because, as researchers Danin and Baruch report, “…the assemblage…occurs in only one rather small spot on earth, this being the Judean mountains and the Judean Desert of Israel, in the vicinity of Jerusalem.”[1. Danin, et al. Flora of the Shroud of Turin, p. 18.]

Those experts succeeded in identifying thirty-six species of plants[2. More than thirty-six have been found on the shroud but await unequivocal species identification.] on the shroud. They discovered that almost all of the flower images remaining on the cloth and the highest concentration of pollens were where the head of the corpus would have been lying; plant parts and pollens were also located throughout the rest of the shroud. 

Plants Found on the Shroud of Turin:[3. Danin, et al. Flora of the Shroud of Turin, p. 12.]

Botanical Name

Common Name (English)

Anabasis aphylla

Anabasis

Acacia albida

Acacia

Artemisia herba-alba

White Wormwood

Atraphaxis spinosa

Atraphaxis

Capparis ovata

Caper

Carduus

Carduus Thistle

Cedrus libanoticus

Cedrus

Echinops glaberrimus

Echinops

Fagonia mollis

Fagonia

Gundelia tournefortii

Tumble Thistle

Haplophyllum tuberculatum

Haplophyllum

Hyoscyamus reticulatus

Henbane

Linum mucronatum

Armenian Flax

Paliurus spina-christi

Jerusalem Thorn, Garland Thorn, or Crown of Thorns

Prosopis farcta

Dwarf Mesquite, Syrian Mesquite

Reaumuria hirtella

Reaumuria

Ricinus communis

Castor Oil Plant

Scabiosa prolifera

Carmel Daisy

Scirpus

Scirpus

Secale

Rye

Suaeda

Seepweed

Tamarix

Salt Cedar

 

The botanists found several factors of particular interest to those studying, even doubting, the authenticity of the shroud. These are some of their findings: 

  1. All the plants are ones that grow in Israel. Of these, twenty are known to grow in Jerusalem itself and eight others grow in the vicinity in the Judean desert or the Dead Sea area. 
  2. Although some of these plants are found in Europe, fourteen plants grow only in the Middle East.
  3. Twenty-seven of the plants bloom in the springtime at the same time as the Jewish Passover. 
  4.  Zygophyllum dumosum, has both pollen as well as an image on the shroud and grows only in Israel, Jordan and the Sinai region. 
  5. Gundelia tournefortii (most frequent of the pollens found by the scientist on the shroud, and is indicative of season) was the plant material found where the Crown-of-Thorns was imprinted around the head on the cloth. 

________________________________

Danin, Avinoam, Whanger, Alan D., Baruch, Uri, Whanger, Mary. Flora of the Shroud of Turin. St. Louis, MO; Missouri Botanical Garden Press, 1999.


 

Too Holy to Hold Back

Image morguefile.com.

My dear friend Michelle Jones writes on her blog, County Road 21, about “The bitter sweet of love and death.” that is Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday 2012, we carried a tiny box to church. I had miscarried 13 week old, Francis Xavier…The choir sang, “can a mother forget her baby, or a woman, the child within her womb.” Tears splashed my fingers as I played the piano…Palm Sunday, 2013, we went to church hollow…the day before the baby who was healthy inside me at 9 weeks, was now dead, also at 13 weeks. My miscarriage of Baby Grace was a nightmare…

Her powerful words of Palm Sundays being all they were meant to be ring holy. Do go read her post.