The overabundance of recent rain has made gardening a real challenge in the Prince George area. Gardeners are having a hard time getting out to pull weeds (which seem to thrive in these cooler, wet temperatures).
Hopefully the rain is not going to be a long-term problem, but in the meantime there are some things to watch for.
Powdery mildew is a common problem that is caused by dampness, when plants are growing too close to each other and/or poor air circulation. It is easily identified as looking like white or grey powdery patches on the plants foliage and stems.
It wont kill the plant, but it will certainly stress the plant and prevent proper photosynthesis from taking place.
Some plants are more susceptible to powdery mildew then others. Roses, lilacs, viburnums beebalm, cucumbers, squash, and beans should be watched closely for powdery mildew. There are steps that can be taken to help prevent this from becoming a large problem.
If you have a greenhouse make sure that the doors and vents are open during the day to keep the air moving. Keep plants properly spaced apart and keep the weeds down in the greenhouse as well as outdoors in the garden.
Roses and shrubs should be pruned on time, to keep the centre open as this will help with air circulation. If powdery mildew occurs you want to stop it before it becomes a real problem.
Remove any infected foliage and destroy it as soon as it is seen. There are products available that can also help. A new product that has been used by commercial growers for the past three years is now available to the home gardener. It is called Serenade and comes in a concentrated form that is mixed with water (following the manufacturers recommendations on the container) or in a ready to use bottle and then applied to the foliage of the plant.
It is quite safe and can be used up to the day of harvest on vegetables. It can be used as a preventive measure by applying to the plants every seven to 10 days, which should help eliminate the problem before it occurs.
The active ingredient in it is bacillus subtilis and this is the same active ingredient that can be found in ready-to-use green earth bio-fungicide tomato and vegetable disease control, which is another safe product that can be used in controlling powdery mildew.
Green Earth also has a ready-to-use fungicide/miticide that contains sulphur, which helps control
powdery mildew, as well as mites.
Other products that have been around for the past few years include greenearth Garden Sulphur, which is a powder that can be directly dusted on the plants foliage or mixed with water and then applied, or greenearth Bordo Copper Spray, which is a wettable powder. Safers is a company that has been around for years and it has a garden fungicide called Defender that controls powdery mildew.
Other problems to watch for during this wet weather is aphids. Aphids thrive in these moist conditions and can place a lot of stress on the plant by sucking nutrients out of the plant. You want to catch the problem early before it multiplies as aphids reproduce quickly.
Check plants every few days and look on the new growth shoots of plants, as well as under the foliage.
If you find only a few, the aphids can be removed by hand or washed off, but if there are a lot you will have to use either insecticidal soap or go to a chemical treatment. Insecticidal soap or neem oil are both quite safe to use and can be used as a preventive by applying it on the plant weekly so that aphids are controlled before they become a problem.
Lets hope that we do not get a repeat of last years summer with all the rain. The one nice thing about the rain is that the garden sprinkler has not had to be used yet.