December 17, 2012

Mildew Rears It's Ugly Head!

Okay... I've finally admitted I have to TREAT powdery mildew!!!  For the past two weeks, since we started the wood stove and the house temps have changed, I have been noticing a few blossom stalks on larger plants on one stand had mildew on the stems and some on the petals.  I DID NOT find any mildew on the other stand in a different area!  :) 
     So, I began TREATMENT with the only true first step:  PREVENTION!  I took off all stalks with open blossoms... and moved the plants to a better area!  The temps in the new area don't drop so low at night, and the difference between night and day temps is not so large.  This new area is one side of our living room, and we walk by the violets many times every day, creating a little 'stirring' of the air.
     That was two weeks ago, and I have not seen any sign of mildew  I will keep a close watch but I expect not to have much problem.
     The original shelves where the mildew developed are in the bathroom.  It is a large bathroom, and we do run a fan for several hours a day, and there is not high humidity.  The problem is that it is an 'isolated' room, on the outside wall, and several rooms away from the wood stove.  When the wood stove is stoked and working, the main furnace does not run, and yet the heat from the wood stove does not warm the bathroom.  We use a small heater/fan for those times we use the shower, so the daytime temps aren't too bad, about 66-72 degrees.  But the night temps often drop to 60 degrees.
     Today, I noticed the oldest tray of mama leaves had a well-advanced case of MILDEW!!   Yuk! I was checking on them nearly every day, but they were growing at the pace that a watched pot boils!  So, I decided to let them be for a few days.  So, I missed the first signs, if it came slowly.  It could have developed in the last week, since I watered them a week ago, but I didn't look too closely!
     I did a quick check on the new stand, and the large plants were free.  I looked over the stand that has the 'extras' and for sale plants.  They are in a good environment similar to the new stands,and I have been misting the area with Lysol spray, just to keep the selling plants clean.  It seems to have done a good job.
     But those propagating leaves were horrid, and needed quick help.  I did some research in the violet books, and Nancy's book, etc.  I decided not to rely on the Neem Oil as it seemed it worked best for prevention.  I didn't have the stronger chemicals... so went to work with what I had.
     I have had good results with simply washing the mildew off on a very regular basis, keeping the shelves and area clean, the Lysol spray, and improving the growing environment.  So, I mixed a milk/water/clove oil solution, and began to brush it THOROUGHLY over all the mama leaf surfaces.  I did not brush the baby leaves... except those in the front three pots in the photo below.  Just for an experiment!  :)
     I mean I REALLY COVERED and saturated the leaf surfaces,  It wasn't easy, as the hairy leaves, and the mildew itself seemed to shed the solution.  I did remove some leaf tips, and some mama leaves completely, if the babies were large and looked sturdy.
     I did find one medium plant with some mildew on the blossom stalks and one leaf.  So, I completely covered it.
     The leaves and plant  dried very quickly as I did the work very close to the wood stove and the fan on the stove does move air!  I left the leaves and plant in the kitchen for the rest of the day, and will place them in a place that has more even temperatures and good air circulation.
    Tomorrow, I will wash and spray the bathroom shelves and give everything a light misting just to keep them safe.  Plus, I will double check day/night temps, and make sure it isn't the best mildew environment.
     Here are photos:
Here are the leaves and plant after treatment. 
The solution was mixed as:
  • 16 tablespoons of warm water
  • 4 tablespoons of milk (whole, raw)
  • 16 shaken drops of clove oil (essential homopathic oil, not culinary)

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