Last year about mid summer my vineing plants such as pickles and cucumbers in...

Asked March 21, 2014, 4:31 AM EDT

Last year about mid summer my vineing plants such as pickles and cucumbers in my garden began to turn "gray" brown and kind of dusty then slowly they would die. I couldnt see any bugs or anything on the plants . It continued to spread over at least 1/2 of the garden. Someone said it was a worm or something and in the spring I needed to cover the garden with black plastic and allow the sun to "bake" out the bug. Do I need to do that? I compost and don't want to use many chemical but want my garden to grow. i would appreciate any recommendations

Allen County Ohio horticulture

1 Response

You are most likely dealing with a disease rather than an insect problem. The black plastic over the garden will not do anything for this disease. The use of black plastic to "sterilize" the soil in an attempt to control insects, weeds and diseases may have some impact on organisms near the surface of the soil. However, the disease with which you are most likely dealing is powdery mildew, a fungus. This fungus is spread by spores that float in the air and spread throughout the summer. The following URLs will take you to some university information on the identification and management of powdery mildew: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7406.htmlhttp://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/veg_fruit/hgic2206.htmlThe factsheets include both cultural and chemical management recommendations.Powdery mildew is an extremely common disease of cucumbers and other vining crops. There is hardly a summer that goes by that wouldn't experience powdery mildew.