JellyBean
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:47 am
Location: NJ

Soil Fungus/Mildew/Mold

I'm new to veggie gardening and am not good with garden problems. My garden is a small 5 feet by 6 feet and has a little bit of everything (zuchini, green beans, corn, strawberries, ect.) I noticed this evening while watering that the area around my tomato sprouts have brown mildew all over the soil. When the water hit it, it made a dusty cloud. How can I tell if this is a good fugus or a bad fungus? What should I do to control it?

I'm in New Jersey and it's been a mild June; mid 70's, humid at times. Thanks for any help you can provide! :D

I should also mention that the mildew is on the soil and the tomato sprouts that it surrounds are not growing very fast if at all but I don't see any visible spots on the plants themselves.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

soil fungus/ mildew

I haven't seen anything like that. If you are pretty sure it is mildew or something related, you can try putting just a little bit of bleach in a spray bottle of water. Mist the mildew, being careful not to get it on you plants and not to get it heavy enough that it goes through to the soil.

Then I think I'd probably put down mulch or some kind of barrier between that and your plants, so that your fungus/ mildew whatever doesn't get splashed up on to your plants when you water.

JellyBean
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Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:47 am
Location: NJ

Thanks for your reply. I only saw it that one time. Since last week, I have not seen the mysterious brown dust again. So, hopefully it won't come back. There is mulch in the soil I bought. It's black top soil with wood chips in it by the brand Scott.

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rainbowgardener
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soil with mulch in it

I don't understand that idea. The point of mulch (whether wood chips, leaves, newspaper, pine needles, etc) is to lie on top of your soil and cover it. It then helps keep any weed seeds that land from sprouting, provides some suppression to weed seeds in the ground, helps keep the soil from drying out, etc. Wood chips IN the soil wouldn't do any of this. They will break down, but being very high carbon, they will tie up a lot of nitrogen from your soil while they do so, thus acting like negative fertilization, subtracting one of the main nutrients your soil needs.

I guess you could use the soil + woodchips like you use regular woodchips to sit on top of the soil you planted in. In which case the main problem would be it will likely break down a lot faster than regular wood chips and it will encourage weed growth in the mulch. It only takes a little bit of soil to give weeds a toe hold.

Perhaps your brown dust then was just broken down mulch? It does break down into soil like substance, some of which might be kind of powdery if it had dried out.

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