Powdery Mildew on the Squash

Yesterday, I noticed that my squash had some white, powdery looking spots on it’s leaves.

The plant itself looked okay other than the spots.

I noticed the other day that while some of the fruit were okay, a couple of the fruits just coming on appeared to have started to rot where the flower typically falls off.

 So, obviously, I had to do something, the first thing I did was find out what I had.  My twitter friends told me I likely had Powdery Mildew.  The first thing I did was to cut off the healthy fruit.  Though I would normally leave it to grow a bit more, I preferred to cut it off than to leave it and have it rot.

The next thing I did was to cut off all of the dead leaves, the dead flowers, rotted fruit/flowers, dying stems, and the leaves that were very badly covered in mildew.  I used sharp pruners and put the damaged leaves on my scrap pile.

Now, I had several options.  There were lots of different suggestions to try to prevent powdery mildew (not a lot of treatment options, mostly preventatives).  The one I decided to try was a combination of baking soda, water, and a touch of dish soap.  
I took a quart sized spray bottle I got from the dollar store and added a drop of liquid dish detergent (the off brand of Dawn, the blue kind is what I used, then added 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda.  I mixed this well, then squirted on all sides of the leaves, including the stems.  I more or less drenched the entire plant to the point of run-off.
I did this in the evening, after the sun had gone down, to be sure that the sun didn’t scorch the plant with the soap.  By mid-morning the next day, the leaves that did have small powdery mildew spots on them were gone, but a small yellow spot was left.  The whole plant looked happier.

I have hopes that some of the remaining blooms will be able to make it to harvest still, currently, they have teeny-tiny squash coming on – with no mildew!

Plants Identified

I have closed on the house officially and have moved in and done some work.  Unfortunately I do not have internet access and now that I do have it I forgot my camera so I can’t share new pictures.  I was able to find out what some of the plants from my last post were and am going to write about those.

All of the hostas are staying and I’m slowly working on removing the weeds growing in among them.

Mom identified this and the other bush/tree like things as mulberry bushes, which were probably brought in by birds who eat the berries and then drop them.  Because they aren’t something I want right now, all of them were pulled or cut.

I found a bloom on one of the daylilies and now know that some of them are Stella d’Oro, they will also be staying.

I still do not know what this is or if it was intentionally planted or not, but it had a strange smell and was growing over the hostas and daylillies that I wanted to keep, so it has all been dug up.

Another mulberry bush.

Sadly, the company that was caring for the house while it was on sale before I closed mowed off both peony bushes!  They are both there, just very, very short.  I’m hoping they will survive and come back next year.

More mulberry bushes!  These were everywhere, but are all out.  Thanks to several heavy rains, the soil was damp enough to pull some up by the roots.  Others I had to cut off, so I may need to find some sort of stump killer or something if they come back.

This bush is looking a little better, but I’m still not sure if it is going to stay or not.  If it goes, I will need some help from my dad or someone with equipment I don’t have, so won’t be done right away.


No change to these either for the same reason as above, but they will likely stay since they are healthy and look decent – unless I decide to replace them with flowers.

The sedum is coming back nicely even where it was mowed down, I can’t wait until they bloom this fall.  This looks exactly like my mom’s light pink sedum (Hylotelephium spectabile), so I think that is the same.  I do love sedum and may add more varieties later though!

A sharpened hoe, a lot of sweat, a good pair of gloves, and some help from mom and nearly all of these are gone.  I only hacked them down and pulled them up – no chemicals, so a few are returning and I need to repeat the process, but just an hour or so of work made it look so much better!

This bush did have some damage from the thistle invasion, but it seems to be making a comeback now that the thistles are gone.  I believe it is a bayberry bush.  It is staying for now, however in spite of the fact that I like the color, I’m not a fan of it’s thistles.

I found out that this has a bloom that looks similar to a morning glory, but instead of a pretty flower, it is a weed, known as bindweed (Convolvulaceae) which climbs and chokes out any flower, bush, tree, etc. it comes into contact with.  Much of it has been pulled up, but it is still growing in some places.  The worst is where it is intertwined with the rose bush!


The blooms are gone now, but it has some buds coming back.  There are several dead stems that I need to trim back and I’m fighting the bindweed above trying to grow over the rose.

This nice healthy looking mulberry bush is gone now also, no more mulberry bushes – until the birdies bring some seeds back, anyway!

Most of the dandelions are gone also, the Oxalis (yellow flower on the clover-like weed in the background) is also gone, though it is starting to come back.

The house caretakers mowed this down, but it is coming back – after mowing down my sedum and peonies, I sort of hope they got poison ivy!  I’m going to have to figure out a very careful way to remove it now that it is returning.

New House, New Plants, New Garden

You may have noticed the lack of posts recently, that is because I’ve been busy looking at houses to buy.  I found one that suits my needs and am preparing to move.  This means a new house, with new plants, and best of all, a garden all my own (that I don’t have to share with mom).

Some of the plants that came with the house I’m excited about, others I do not know what they are, and yet others I am far less than enthused about.  So here is a plant overview of the new house, perhaps you can help identify some of the unknown plants?

This is my new house, it is small, but cozy and perfect for me!  I can’t wait to move in and make it my very own space!
Solid Green Hosta, possibly ‘Royal Standard’?  There are several groups of these along the north side of the house, along with the variegated shown below.

Variegated green with white outline Hosta, possibly ‘Regal Supreme’?  Again, several groups, though they are somewhat overgrown with weeds.

Some sort of tree?  There are several of these as well and I do not know if these are things which should be removed or left.  Also on the north side of the house.

Among the Hostas are some day lilies, variety unknown since they have finished blooming.  I’m looking forward to seeing these next spring!

Another unknown, a mess of green with some assorted purple flowers, I wish I had a better picture, but it didn’t turn out.  No idea what this might be, or even if it is a weed or flower.

Another thing that could be a tree or could be a plant.  The leaves remind me a bit of my mom’s hydrangea, but I don’t know if that is what they are or not.  There are a few of these on the north and south sides.

Peonies, one of them is pink (had a bloom when I toured that was off now), the other one is unknown color.  Since my new house is in the “Peony Capital of the World,” I feel this is only fitting to have two little Peony bushes!

This is another tree/shrub/plant growing in among the bushes at the front (west) of the house.  Again, I do not have a clue what it might be.

This is a single bush/shrub on the north corner of the west side of the house, it appears to have some dead growth on it, but is doing better than when I first toured the house.  I’m tempted to pull it, as it makes the house look unsymmetrical, but I don’t know yet.  Some sort of coniferous tree, but I don’t know what kind for sure.


Bushes/shrubs on either side of the front door, a different, but similar conifer to the taller bush.

It is hard to see and part of it was mowed down by the company taking care of the lawn, but there is a small section of sedum growing on the southwest corner of the house.  I really like sedum, so this makes me happy!

Some of the not-so-wanted plants – thistles!  These are ALL over the place, and are going to seed before I have possession of the house and can do anything about them, so there will be more.  Anyone have good thistle removing techniques that don’t involve Round-Up?

In among these thistles is a pretty reddish bush.  Mom called it a boxwood, but I don’t know if they come in red, so I’m not positive what it is.  Hopefully it makes it in spite of being taken over by thistles!

More of the same as the purple blooming flower from the back, I believe, except without the purple blooms.  Or it could be some sort of ground cover.  Or a weed.


The single plant I’m most excited about – the rose bush!  I don’t know variety or anything (it wasn’t even blooming when I first saw the house), but I do love my roses and I’m thinking it will needs some little rose friends to live with it!

I believe this is the same as is growing on the north of the house, but on the south (and much healthier looking) as well as possibly what is growing in the bush in the front of the house.  It sort of looks like a grape or a hydrangea, but I don’t really have a clue.

Thistles and giant dandelions, unfortunately this is what most of the garden is made of, but at least my piggies will have plenty to eat for the first few weeks anyway!

And the single plant I’m least excited about – poison ivy!  Right outside the front door.  Any suggestions on removing it without getting it also appreciated!

Troubleshooting: Drooping Mum

I had an idea for a new type of post for me to post every week or so.  I’m going to call them “troubleshooting” and it will be a problem – either that I’m having or something that someone else has submitted.  Then my readers or followers on Twitter can give suggestions or recommendations for solving the problem and I will update the post with the answers.
My first post is actually a problem my mom is having.  She got this cute little basket with mums for her birthday a few weeks ago (the only picture I have of it healthy are the ones I took with the new baby pig).  Now my mom is notoriously bad at caring for houseplants, she tends to overwater.  She has a schedule for watering and waters the same amount every week regardless of the plant’s needs or wants.  Let’s just say she has a long-standing habit of being a houseplant killer.  She’s killed more cactus than I can count.

Her pretty little mum basket looked bright, cheery, and springy for a week or two, but within the past few days it has started to droop.  I checked the soil and it doesn’t feel extremely overwatered, but doesn’t feel dry at all either.  The stems seem too weak to hold the blooms up anymore and though they haven’t fallen off, they are wilting badly.  It is in our kitchen, so is at room temperature all the time.

What do you think?  Overwatered?  Underwatered?  Too small of a pot?  Too warm?  Too cold?  Any suggestions?

Pepper Experiment

Last year at the end of the year, I bought a pepper plant that had some blooms on clearance.  My thought was that I could put it inside and have some peppers over the winter.  Well, I never did replant the pepper plant into a bigger pot, so all I ended up with is a spindly pepper plant.  The top looks good and there is new growth coming in at the bottom, but there is a good six inch space that has no leaves, it is just stem.

I did some reading and found that spindly pepper plants was a result of overcrowding – which a pepper plant kept in a four inch pot for several months most definitely is – but I also found out that if a plant is spindly, you can plant it at a deeper depth, and unlike some plants, where the stem will rot, like in most plants, the stem of a pepper will grow roots.  This made me wonder if I could put dirt around the stem that has no leaves and when it grows roots divide it into two plants (and this time repot it or put it outside).

What I did was take a plastic sandwich bag and cut a slit in the bottom just big enough to fit over the top part of the plant.  I slid it down the plant over the top, then secured it with a twisty tie, making sure that the slit I cut was completely closed.  Then I filled the pouch it made with potting soil, then added water to wet the soil just enough to make it damp.  I then gathered the top and added a second twisty tie to hold the dirt and moisture inside.

My goal is that this will hopefully grow roots from the stem and I’ll be able to cut the stem just below the bag.  This will leave me with two pepper plants, rather than one, big spindly one.

The bag of dirt made the plant a little top heavy, especially since the pot is just plastic.  So I rested it against the windowsill that the plants sit near.