Category Archives: Chemicals

Powdery Mildew Strikes Again

We have had a very cooler and wet spring and the powdery mildew is back with a vengeance.

A day before our last good rain, I sprayed all of my crops with a mixture of Garrett Juice (2 tbsp per gallon), neem oil (almost 2 tbsp per gallon), and a tablespoon per gallon of ocean minerals.  After wards, the leaves had a nice rich green shine to them and the powdery mildew could not be seen.  I suspect that it was just hidden under the glossy finish.  After a few more days of very light sprinkles, enough to wash the spray off, I can again see spots of powdery mildew all over.

I had a small pump bottle of copper fungicide, so I sprayed the most affected leaves.  Tomorrow when I go to town I will look for a concentrated bottle of copper and I plan to add that to my spray mixture of Garrett Juice, neem and ocean minerals.

Neem oil can treat fungus, mites and insects, with varying efficacy.

It starts with just a few small spots here and there.

powdery mildew on squash plants

Then it spreads.

powdery mildew on squash closeup

Another squash leaf.  Different varieties of summer squash and zucchini have differing tolerances and immunity to the powdery mildew.   Winter squash and gourds seem to have the strongest resistance, except for spagetti squash.

powdery mildew on squash plants

I cut out the leaves that are totally wiped out by the mildew.  They are light yellow, covered with the white mess and dry and stiff.  The powdery mildew if a parasite fungus that taps into the leaves and feeds off of the squash leaves.

 

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White Flies – Minuscule Bug, Massive Damage

This past season I was plagued by White Flies, a new problem for me, especially in the greenhouse.

The vicious end result of an explosion of white flies is the death of the plant.  The tiny, barely visible pests secrete a sticky substance called honeydew.  This honeydew causes fungus to grow on it and creates a black coating on the affected plant leaves.  This plant is a baby osage orange tree.  (The flies seem to especially like osage orange trees.)  Before you know what is happening, the leaves are covered with a drying, crusty black coating.  Here, I have sprayed water on the leaves and tried to rub some of it off.

black crust from honeydew caused by white flies

I googled around and found that insecticidal soap was the best natural treatment for them.  I used numerous applications of liquid soap – Murphy Wood Oil soap – increasing soap content percentage each try and nothing killed them.  The soap may have killed the flies that it actually landed on, but it obviously did nothing for the eggs and nymphs that were all over the underside of the leaves.  The next day, flies were all over the place again – either the ones I sprayed the day before, or a new hatching.  I also used my old favorite, neem oil, but that didn’t work either.

These are some white flies on the underside of flower leaves.  They are all over on most of the leaves.

white flies under leaves

There are so many flies that they are also on the top of the leaves.  They are tiny white bugs and the other spots are either eggs or nymphs – so tiny I can’t see them clearly.

white flies on top of leaves

The white fly is very tiny, maybe about 1/12 of an inch.  This past fall they were getting so bad all over the yard that they killed my large Cypress Vine planting and were getting all over the remaining garden plants.  Outside of the greenhouse, I didn’t spray the poison because there were other bugs that seemed to keep them in check.  However, inside the greenhouse, they were breeding rapidly and getting all over all of my plants that I was slowly bringing inside for the coming winter.  They even ruined numerous pots of Rosemary, Gum trees and other strong oiled plants.  Over just a few weeks, they contaminated almost every plant so I had to do something drastic.  That was to buy a bottle of Bifen I/T.  I read extensively online about killing white flies in the greenhouse and this seemed the best answer to solve the problem.  Several applications seemed to take care of the problem.  I didn’t want to do it, but I couldn’t let them survive and thrive overwinter in the greenhouse.

As of early February, I haven’t noticed a white fly problem.

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Wasp Spray Kills Wasps & Broccoli Seedlings

I have several trays of cabbage and broccoli seedlings on a porch table. We have a red wasp nest in the soffit above the table. A red wasp dive-bombed me so I sprayed toward it, not thinking about my seedlings. A breeze blew some of the insecticide onto the nearest seedlings. Within a few minutes the seedlings shriveled and the nearest were dead.

wasp sprayed seedlings

Note: don’t spray chemicals ANYWHERE around seedlings.

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Second Planting Harvest

As noted many times, my Spring planting was a disaster, probably because of Dow Agri-science’s evil environmental poison called Aminopyralid, it could be picloram – also an environmental toxin that doesn’t go anywhere quickly. I think a got a several ton load of ‘Toxic Compost’, the term for compost ruined by aminopyralid or picloram.  Well, I replanted in mid-summer.  Ordinarily this would have been enough time for a good second harvest.  However, with the current ‘global warming’ of colder and earlier winters, we had an early freeze in October which killed the summer crops.  The two green gourds on the left just didn’t mature enough and end up on the compost pile, as did the small green squash in front.  The two tan squash finished turning tan and are still sitting on the counter.
second planting harvest

More railing on Evil Dow and their environmental toxin aminopyralid or picloram:  I planted peas in the fall in a bed that peas were planted in February and also failed.  All summer long and the bed is still toxic.  A second planting of peas killed by Dow’s greed and dis concern for the environment.  These pea plants, which should have been almost 2 feet tall, only grew a few inches.  Each one put out a terrible pea pod that looks like it holds one pea.  Terrible.  Thanks Dow!  Your greed has killed 2 seasons of my garden.  I simply can’t throw all the soil out and try to find more – it took me two years to get this much soil – a few dump truck loads and a few tons of aged horse manure.
dow's poison aminopyralid killed my garden, toxic compost

Thanks Dow, your selfish greed is probably responsible for the death of my garden.  And I can’t do anything about it except spread the word.

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Still Growth Problems – Aminopyralid Still Around?

After a total disaster this spring with planting in this bed, I decided to grow a quick crop of bush beans before I plant broccoli and cabbage seedlings in this bed – which will be covered with hoops & plastic this winter.  I figured that the added nitrogen would be good for the soil and I was looking forward to yellow wax beans.  Didn’t work out that way.

Well, one end of the bed – actually about 2/3 of the bed, the beans did not do well.  At this end, they were the most stunted, a bit less stunted in the middle of the 16 foot bed, and awesome (normal) at the other end of the bed.  Use the clay pot to show scale.  These beans are sorry looking and many of them are turning yellow and dying before any buds appear.  Others have buds, but won’t be able to produce many – if  any – bean pods.  So scrawny – so sad.  What a waste of good seed – Dow cost me more money and won’t take responsibility.  ( Now, all my reply emails to their rep go unanswered.  They just don’t care.  Dow Agriscience wants your $$$$$$$$ and screw the home gardener!)  Unfortunately, most of my bean seeds went into this end of the garden.
is aminopyralid still killing my garden?

This bean plant is what they should look like.  See those giant (normal sized) leaves?   And all those buds?  For some reason this end of this 16′ x 4′ raised bed is normal.  Something in the other end is causing stunted beans.  I fear it is still Dow’s widespread poison.  Beans are a test crop to see if that poison is in your compost.  Well, thanks Dow, you, like Monsanto, like to do evil things to gardens and seeds and heirloom crops.  Maybe by next spring your poison will be degraded enough that I can grow something in my garden.

(The piece of rebar below the clay pot is what I put my pvc conduit hoops onto to secure them so I can put plastic over the hoops – making my winter hoop garden beds.  I actually use 10′ sections of gray plastic electrical conduit of 1/2″ diameter, I think.  One end is enlarged, both ends fit well over 3/8″ rebar.  1/2″ rebar is too thick.  I bend the 10′ section over the 4′ wide bed.  It works out perfectly, leaving about 3′ internal height for the inside top center of the bed.  I bought 16′ sections of rebar and had my sons cut them into 2′ sections – pounding 12″ into the ground and leaving the other 12″ above ground to slip the conduit over).
beans as they should look like
Yeah – this is what a bush bean should look like.  Look at all those blooms – I have already harvested a few yellow wax beans.  I hope I can get enough for a decent serving.  This may be difficult though, since most of my beans were planted in the poor section of the garden.
yellow wax bens

I finally purchased a gallon jug of Garrett Juice, a foliar feed.  I sprayed all of these plants with it, adding some neem oil in it to help as insecticide.  I think it has helped – but couldn’t counter the effects of Dow’s poison on the smaller beans.  I could have mixed some up myself, but I can’t be confident in the animal manure compost component of the ingredients, so I purchased a jug.

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A Few Peppers From A Lousy Harvest Complements of Dow Agriscience

Thanks to Dow’s wonderful poison called aminopyralid, all of my pepper plants were deformed and stunted and most of them died.  A very few recovered enough to produce a few little peppers.  Here are some of that very few:

a lousy aminopyralid pepper harvest

(That lime isn’t part of the harvest – it’s part of the home made salsa!!)  By this time in the season, I should have 5 gallon pails full of peppers.  Ha, not this year.  Thanks Dow!  By the way, their rep never got back with me.  Gave me a song and dance like dow really cared about how their poisons are destroying innocent folks’ compost piles – they don’t care about anything but their bottom line.  Dow is now in the same file as evil Monsanto.

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Another Look At What I Consider A Failed Squash Season

An analysis of my first summer squash planting.  (I plan to replant by the end of July – we have 2 planting seasons here, although with this global cooling of the past few years, the cold weather gets here sooner in the fall than it used to ).

I am very disappointed with the plants and their production.  Something got the garden this year and I strongly suspect Dow Agriscience and their poison aminopyralid had something to do with it.  The heirloom Rattlesnake Pole Beans also totally failed – all 3 successive plantings.  The peppers failed.  I have a dozen or so heirloom pepper varieties that I have replanted for years.  This year, however, the pepper plants were deformed and never grew properly.  I don’t trust any of the very few peppers that have been produced.  Most of the few fruit shrivels long before the fruit matures.  I am going to have to buy new heirloom pepper seeds and Rattlesnake Pole beans this fall from Southern Exposure, Baker Creek and maybe Seed Savers.

The squash just didn’t do either.  At the very first of the season, most of the plants initially grew wonderfully.  Then they started to die.  The plants just died almost overnight long before producing anything but a few male blossoms.  Often times the leaves quickly yellowed and the plant then dies.  Some plants just flopped over in a day – but careful examination of the plants did NOT show any sign of squash vine borers, so something else killed them.

Some of the butternut squash plantings are developing yellow spots that precede death.

Here are some pictures of the death and destruction.

Here, the base of 6 Waltham Butternut squash plants are dying – starting at the base of the stem and dying along the vine.  About 6 or so feet along the right vine, the leaves are starting to develop those yellow spots.  The vines that have grown to the left and around the base of the raised bed are rooting into the ground so hopefully the fruit set on those vines will mature although the base of the plant is dying.

the base of these waltham butternut squash vines are dying

After seemingly growing well for a while, many of the summer squash are developing light green spots on their leaves.  These plants quickly dye after the leaves finish turning yellow.
light green spots developing on squash leaves

More summer squash baby leaves turning yellow, away from the veins.  This quickly spreads to the entire plant and it dies.  I have kept my evil squash bugs to a minimum so they are not a problem (although I hate them and can’t tolerate even one bug or nymph or eggs on the leaves) and I don’t think they have transmitted any disease to the squash.  It’s got to be something else, but what?  I recently spread organic fertilizer all over the beds – but the plants were already deteriorating before that – and the beans and peppers were already damaged before the fertilizer application.

light green spots on waltham butternut squash leaves

These are hybrid butternut squash (these seeds grew fine last year).  After growing well for a while, they are developing yellow spots.  These yellow spots spread and turn more yellow, then those spots turn brown and a hole appears as the leaf dies.
spots on butternut squash leaves

Many of the baby squash are molding.  They have been pollinated – bees are all over in the early morning, and I like to hand pollinate all blossoms I find each day.  For some reason, the fruit is no longer reaching maturity – lots of baby fruit is dying even before the blossom even opens for pollination.  Early in the season, the fruit was reaching maturity.  Is there a delayed reaction to aminopyralid?  There has been no other herbicide usage on my property.  We are way out and far away from any neighbors and surrounded by 60′ trees, so I don’t think any herbicide drifted in from anywhere.
baby fruit is dying on zucchini and squash plants

Some more yellow leaf spots on Waltham Butternut squash in another area of the garden.  It seems that this if affecting mainly the butternut squash varieties.  This vine is growing on the ground and has rooted along the vine.
yellow spotson butternut squash leaves

More hybrid butternut winter squash.  So many of these plants are developing these spots.  The yellow spots spread, turn whiter, then brown that turns into holes then the leaf dies.  This seems to start at the base of the plant and spreads along the stem quickly.  I have a document from Dow Agroscience that talks about the 3 day rule and it specifically mentions fields that will be planted with cucurbits (squash).  This tells me that that poison does affect cucurbits to some extent.  I have to think that this very odd damage to my squash is somehow related to that poison that has been let loose.   I have never
yellow spots o butternut leaves

This leaf has what I believe to be spider mite damage.  I see tiny blackish spots on the bottom of the leaf and believe that it is spider mites.  Some of these leaves also have a small black hopping bug on their top.  I think it is some sort of plat-sucking bug.
white spots on squash leaves

The leaf on the upper left – below –  has a bit of powdery mildew on it.  The past few weeks, powdery mildew hasn’t spread fast because it has been so hot and dry.  I have been spraying affected leaves with Neem oil and it seems to hold the powdery mildew down.  The leaf in the bottom middle has what looks to be spider mite damage.
problematic squash leaves

I just don’t know what to think.  This bed was planted with about 50 squash plants, half a dozen varieties including both zucchini and yellow summer squash.  The plants all started out very nicely, but then started dying quickly.  When they were growing well, they were starting to produce nice zucchini – the yellow summer squash never really made it.  As you can see, there aren’t many squash plants left and these plants just aren’t producing any fruit.  I just don’t understand.  Last year when my beds were only half full, and full of sandy ‘top soil’ at that, my plants did very well – much better than they have done since I filled the other 6″ of bed with that composted horse manure.
dying squash

I have planted basil seedlings in the open areas.  I’ll let them grow for a while until I pull everything up and plant a second round of summer plants.  If you can make it out,  in several of the top beds in the pic, you can see the scrawny, half alive pepper plants – by this time they should all be full and bushy with lots of peppers – didn’t happen.

Articles that I have read about the poison aminopyralid, a test is mentioned whereby pea or bean plants are planted in samples of suspected soil.  If the seedlings grow fine, all is well, but if the seedlings show problems, then Dow’s poison is still at work.  I think I’ll plant bean seeds around the garden and see how they fare.  Haven’t heard back lately from the Dow rep who contacted me – they are supposed to stop by and look at the destruction and see if they lay claim to any of the damage.

Puzzled and upset . . . . . . . .

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Toxic Compost? Aminopyralid? Thanks Dow AgroScience

I posted a while back that I thought that our wetter than normal spring may have been responsible for my pepper leaves being deformed.  Well, after weeping over my destroyed garden – peppers, tomatoes and beans shot for the season, I have found that a herbicide may be responsible.  After thinking about it, I do believe that the tomato leaves do in fact look like previous herbicide damage to tomatoes that I have seen.

My tomato damage and pepper leaf damage does indeed look like pictures of aminopyralid damage seen all over the internet.

Here is an update on what my tomatoes now look like:

aminopyralid damage to tomatoes?
dow agroscience damage to my tomatoes?
aminopyrlid dow agroscience damage to my tomatoes?

The EPA won’t help me – they are too busy trying to shut down our coal burning power plants and cripple the American economy.

Manure and compost can kill your garden – thanks to Dow chemical company.

They peddle a herbicide called aminopyralid.

Dow Agroscience released this environmental poison in 2005, from what I can tell.  They aggressively market it to horse and cattle owners to control perennial weeds.

Dow strikes again – in 2001, Dow’s clopyralid – still sold as Confront, was found to be the contaminant in compost that killed home garden and nursery plants in Washington, Pennsylvania and New Zealand.

Aminopyralid is the active ingredient in the herbicides Milestone and Forefront and belongs to the same class of chemicals that includes clopyralid.

Dow’s behavior defies environmental corporate responsibility.  They know their product is capable of causing significant environmental harm, yet they continue to not only sell it, but to develop and sell new products that pose equal or greater risks.  The EPA lets it happen again.
My peppers:

The peppers grew perfectly fine in the pots that I sprouted and grew the seedlings in.  They seemed OK for the short while that they were in the garden.  After a rainy spell, I noticed that they suddenly had deformed, small and cupped leaves.  After a few weeks, the leaves dropped off.  At this time, it looks like new leaves may be trying to grow from the spots where the leaves dropped along the main stems.
aminopyralid killing my pepper plants?

These leaves are deformed and long.
did dow agroscience destroy my pepper crop this year?

These leaves are cupped and wrinkled.
is aminopyrlid and it's toxic compost destroy my garden?

More deformed, cupped leaves.  Some of these leaves don’t look totally deformed.
did dow agroscience kill my garden?

My beans were also deformed.  I replanted Heriloom Rattlesnake Pole Beans three times.  This image is the third planting.  I can’t get a good picture, but maybe you can see that the new growing ends of the plants just shrivel up and never grow into new leaves.  After a few leaves, the growing ends are deformed.

did dow aminopyrlid destroy my garden?

From what I have read, lettuce and carrots are also affected by this poison.  This past fall – in some of the areas where the peppers and tomatoes are deformed this spring – I grew carrots and lettuce – they seemed to be OK.  One of the links below mentions Peas as being damaged by this poison – my pea crop was a total failure this past fall. Out of a whole raised bed of peas, only a few germinated and those never grew more than about 3 inches – perhaps Dow’s poison damaged my peas. In a previous post I show the trailer of horse compost that I shoveled into my beds in about October.  It should have affected the lettuce and carrots that I then planted.

Dow chemical seems to be playing games with studying the half life of this poison so I don’t know what to expect this spring.  I shoveled that horse compost into all 7 raised beds and put the rest into my compost pile.  It seems that this poison doesn’t start to degrade until the toxic compost actually gets mixed with soil.

I don’t know what to think.  I will have to call our county extension agent and talk to him and give him this blog URL so that he can see the pictures.  Will keep you updated.

Some links for further information:

Manure Matters 
Tomato Ville forum
Aminopyralid images

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Powdery Mildew Makes An Appearance

Powdery mildew has shown up.  I have been using Neem oil to treat it.  Seems to keep it from spreading.  A few years ago I tried to go organic and used a potion made with baking soda – yes, it stopped the powdery mildew, but it also killed all of the leaves it was sprayed on.
powdery mildew

This pic was taken a couple of days ago.  I treated with neem oil spray on the day the pic was taken.  As of today, I nave not noticed any spreading of the mildew.

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Cabbages – Possibly My Favorite Winter Vegetable Crop

Originally published December 2011

I love growing cabbages.  I learned to like cabbage because I like to grow it.  I use it mainly in my stir fry in the summer and in my garden vegetable soup in the winter.  I have had good results in storing winter cabbage thru early summer.  Wrap it in newspaper and store in the refrigerator.

I start my cabbage seedlings while it is still blistering hot in August.  I then have quite a time trying to keep them cool and yet in plenty of sun. 

Here are pics of my just planted seedlings, after growing for about a month, and current pics with the heads starting to form.

When planting my seedlings, I scoop the hole, put about a tablespoon of both garden lime and bone meal in the hole before I place the seedling.  The bone meal seems to help the roots and the plants perk up and start to grow quickly and I hope the lime wards off the root diseases that cabbages suffer from.  These substances are what is in those containers you see in the left side of this pic.

cabbage seedlings

Cabbages after maybe a month of planting the seedlings.  This is an evening picture.

cabbages are growing   right along

Current picture – taken in the morning after a good freeze the night before.  These are red cabbages.  The leaves always look a bit floppy after a freeze – see leaves at top of the pic.

red   cabbage

I’m hoping that these Early Dutch cabbages will form their 2-3 pound heads before year end.  I need to plant my spring cabbages by February, meaning that these plants need to be matured and out of the way.  I only have a tiny garden space, so I have to constantly recycle the growing area.  No room to leave dormant.  If only I had an acre for my garden….blueberries…blackberries….fruit trees….nut trees…..grains….perennials such as kiwi….actually enough space for all of the bean varieties I have and want to plant….herb garden….and so on…….dream on…….

cabbages closeup

In this pic below, see the bug holes in the middle leaves?  The plants grew fine for a while, then I noticed lots of small holes in the middle of the leaves – this means worms.  The leaves were infected with tiny, green 1/4″ worms.  I rubbed and squashed the ones I could find, then I sprayed the leaves with BT – an organic worm killer.  This solved the problem.  Notice that the newer growth does not have worm holes.  The red cabbages were not affected and not all of the green cabbage were affected either.

cabbages

It is getting close to time to start my cabbage seedlings for this coming spring.  I prefer to only plant ‘early’ cabbage in the spring.  I do this because I want the heads to mature before the hot weather sets in.  Cabbages prefer cool, moist growing conditions – not hot, dry conditions.  Also, spring plantings are very much more subject to worms and aphids.  It is truly amazing, but I had several stunted looking cabbages this past spring – the stunted cabbages were covered with aphids, but the normal, health looking cabbage plants were NOT attacked by aphids.  I truly do believe that pests
zero in on weak plants and are lest apt to attack healthy plants.

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