Bee balm and powdery mildew



Bee balm and powdery mildew

Fri May 22, 2009 2:04 am

Is there some simple treatment to rid my bee balm of this problem? We have been cooler than normal and wetter than normal, and the bee balm is looking pretty bad for this time of the year.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 40 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex
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hendi_alex
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Fri May 22, 2009 5:34 am

Alex, I've seen posts around the various forums that recommend spraying plants with a mixture of milk and water to combat mildew. You might do a search to see if you can find one of those threads.

Well, here's one thread on the subject, and here's one that even mentions Bee Balm, but there are many more. :)
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Kisal
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Fri May 22, 2009 1:40 pm

Thanks for the reminder. I remember H.G.'s recipe from an earlier post and was able to search it out.

Would be nice if H.G., webmaster, or other would create a section to organize the many organic solutions to disease and insect problems. Heading could be something like "organic solutions to common problems" and could include a series of those permanent 'sticky' notes for adding successful remedies and recipes for treatment/control of various problems. H.G. seems to have a wealth of knowledge related to such, and would seem to be that the forum would be better served if those H.G. posts were not burried so deeply in the maze of search results.
Last edited by hendi_alex on Sat May 23, 2009 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 40 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex
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hendi_alex
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Sat May 23, 2009 3:01 am

So noted sir...

And the milk thing is famous for me; fish also works and my radio buddy Len uses a mix of both he swears by...have decided as I often do when I have multiple options to use all of them and sometimes I use fish, and sometimes I use milk... shift your weapons so they don't get used to any one thing...

Lactobacillus is a pretty good fungicide

HG
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Sat May 23, 2009 5:22 am

Another thing that helps with the powdery mildew, respace your plants and make sure they're in a place where they get a minimum of 6 hours of sun. They need good air circulation as well as lots of sun.
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organic fungicides

Sat May 23, 2009 11:15 am

Back in the late winter/early spring when we were all writing/ thinking about our indoor seedlings, it was mentioned that cinnamon and chamomile have fungicidal properties, re the fungus and fungus gnats that sometimes appear with the indoor seedlings. I wonder if it might help to throw some of that in with the milk recipe, or would they just cancel each other out?
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rainbowgardener
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Sat May 23, 2009 6:00 pm

The Helpful Gardener wrote:So noted sir...

And the milk thing is famous for me; fish also works and my radio buddy Len uses a mix of both he swears by...have decided as I often do when I have multiple options to use all of them and sometimes I use fish, and sometimes I use milk... shift your weapons so they don't get used to any one thing...

Lactobacillus is a pretty good fungicide

HG


I find this really fascinating.
I'm an artisan baker by trade, so one of my primary goals is maintaining a balanced relationship between yeast and bacteria (lactobacillus being one of the major players in the sourdough culture we use).

The part that confuses me is this: isn't it the lactic acid that hurts the fungus? My understanding is that this is why lactobacillus is so good for our bodies - it keeps the pH low so we don't get an overgrowth of yeast.
Yeast activity in a sourdough starter similarly decreases as lactic acid increases.
But I've read many of your posts saying that fungus loves acidic soils, so what gives?

*edited to apologize for taking this off-topic!
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Sun May 24, 2009 5:07 am

No it's a really good question; oner I am chewing on as I write this...

Forest soils from northern evergreen dominated taiga are nearly 100% fungal and have pH's in the fives or even less. If you tried to grow a tomato in that soil it woul dcollapse. Weedy bacterial soils are often calcerous (without the weak acid response from fungal digestion of carbon, the soil gets highly calcerous); a Douglas fir wouldn't stand a chance. Bacteria tends towards base, due to the polysaccharides and calcium shells, but you are correct, Lactobacillus creates and acid and seems more at home in acids (which is why some of these puppies can survive human stomachs even). So the general statement is out the window and we need to be specific in our address of Lactobaccilus... and the highly acidic situation that it creates. It is not nearly as well fed in soil as it is in sourdough, either...

Lactobacillus is a facultative anaerobe, so it does not have oxygen to play with in it's anaerobic state , so no carbon dioxide to gas off like fermenting bubbles, it instead makes carbonic acid instead (Much less oxygen needed). This is also a weak acid response, so perhaps this is nature's safety valve to continue to solubilize soil nutrients even when things go bad... but it shows how lactobacillus a is an anti-bacterial/antifungal bacteria; it creates situation that most bacteria don't like, but inhibits fungus too, and probably most important for us humans, it competes for habitat with other facultative anaerobes like E. coli and fecal coliforms. Seeing as higher populations of those guys (ALSO present in our systems at all times) can be really detrimental to our health, I think we all should show the Lactobacillus species a little respect. We owe them a lot...

You are bringing the same balancing act in the culture we are looking to find in the soil, even using some of the same cast of characters. Really the differences are more about ingredients and temperature than anything else; the priciples remain much the same between brewing, baking, cheesemaking, or making good soil. We are in all these cases using biology to start a process we can then manipulate to achieve a final product we value. Working with Nature, not against her...
:mrgreen:
HG
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Sun May 24, 2009 10:13 pm

Thank you. It's really interesting for me to think about the similarities between building healthy soil and brewing, baking or winemaking. It makes the French concept of terroir seem that much more logical.
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Mon May 25, 2009 9:15 pm

Oh completely right; I maintain it IS what terroir is, the final result of a site-specific, biologically indicated, chemical interaction. Why is Belgian lambic so good? Brettanomyces lambicus is a wild occuring yeast species in the area and they open ferment the lambic... do it in my neighborhood and you better be gunning for a sour apple taste as that is what the Lactobacillus around here will make it taste like. There is a lactic acid producing bacteria in lambic as well, Pediococcus damnosus, but it is a slow producer and so the wild yeast gets the upper hand. A biological pas de deaux that makes the most lovely beverage I have ever tasted (champagne is over-rated next to a good lambic, and if you don't believe me mix just a tablespoon of good lambic into the next champagne you have and tell me it didn't just get lot's better...peach, raspberry, but my favorite is black currant...here's the site for my favorite brand...

Enjoy!

HG
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