Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is caused by one of the most common and widely distributed fungi that plague gardens.  The disease can attack a wide range of plants, as it is caused by several species of the order Erysiphales.  A sampling of commonly affected plants includes: Cucumbers.Pumpkins.Squash.Melons.Grapes.Phlox.Peonies.Lilacs.Bluegrass.Fescue. The fungus arrives on the scene in the form of…… Continue reading Powdery Mildew

Brix: How Do We Use It?

Now that we know what brix is and how to measure it, we’re ready to find ways to apply this knowledge. So what is an ideal brix level? Most plants show markedly improved vitality and pest resistance when their brix levels hit 12 degrees on a refractometer, although with care many can go far higher…… Continue reading Brix: How Do We Use It?

Pierce’s Disease

Pierce’s disease (PD) is a bacterial disease of grapes named for Newton Pierce, who described the disease in 1892.  The bacterium species is Xylella fastidiosa. Sharpshooter leafhopper A grape plant is infected when insects, particularly sharpshooter leafhoppers, carrying bacteria bite the plant.  Bacteria then take up residence in the vascular tissue of the grape and…… Continue reading Pierce’s Disease

Phytophthora Blight

Phytophthora blight, also known as late blight, is a fungal disease caused by several species of the genus Phytophthora.  Affected plants include: Cucumbers.Squash.Pumpkins.Cantaloupe.Watermelons.Tomatoes.Eggplants.Peppers.Potatoes.Beans. The fungi involved flourish in wet, moderately warm weather.  They spend the winter in infected tubers and plant matter.  The disease is spread by soil and moisture. Symptoms Seedling death.Large dark brown…… Continue reading Phytophthora Blight

Brix: What is It?

Brix is one of those topics that come up fairly frequently in sustainable agriculture.  Simply put, brix is a measure of the sugar content of a plant or other substance. To be more specific, Brix expresses the weight of dissolved sugar as a percentage of the weight of the entire solution.  Pure water has a…… Continue reading Brix: What is It?

Peach Leaf Curl

Peach leaf curl is a common disease caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans.  Besides peaches, susceptible plants include nectarines and almonds. The peach leaf curl fungus spends the winter in the bark and buds of its hosts.  It enters new buds as they begin to swell and open in the spring, spread by rain and…… Continue reading Peach Leaf Curl

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is a disease common to the southeastern United States.  It is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum and affects numerous garden plants, including vegetables, small fruits, and flowers.  The most susceptible host species include: Tomatoes.Sweet potatoes.Cucumbers.Watermelons. The disease is spread through infected soil.  Once it is introduced, it is nearly impossible to get…… Continue reading Fusarium Wilt