Listener Questions | Zucchini Mildew and troubles | Slugs

I got a question from a listener in New Zealand:

I’m just wondering how to stop the slugs, snails and caterpillar eating my lettuce and cabbage. Any ideas please?

I wrote back: How exciting to be talking to someone in New Zealand! Maybe we’ll get to visit there someday as it’s always been on my list of somedays it would be nice to visit. It’s always listed as the forefront of teaching besides the lovely countryside!

Mike suggested using eggshells to deter the slugs. He said wash them, pulverize them and then either add them to your dirt or just sprinkle around your plants.

Keep us informed if it works!


Mike struggled with cabbages for years but they are finally growing nicely and coming up sweet and delicious. But I know they can be frustrating. So interesting that summer is just coming on! I can’t wait to tell my students, they will be fascinated!

Are you trying the three sisters approach with your squash and beans? Someone I just talked to recently reminded me to put the fish-heads underneath! Mike grew his squash and green beans around his corn this year.


The beans climbed up the corn and the squash grew around the corners. I know he got a lot of corn that has also been a challenge. He did save his own seeds the last couple of years and I think that helped too.

Sounds like you’re getting quite a bit in for such limited space. We struggle with tomatoes every year as they get just about to ripen and we freeze and even if we bring them in, it just seems to be a challenge to get them ripe without them rotting!

Hope things grow well and keep us posted! Thanks so much for reaching out!

Zucchini Mildew and troubles

White powdered zucchini leaves I think is that the same as powdery mildew, I hope so cause that’s what I thought you said.

Well, now I might have to go back and look.

There’s about a dozen episodes that come up on my website when I search for mildew.

When Russ Medge talks about powdery mildew on his trees he says:

A tree that hasn’t been pruned in years, will have broken branches, fire blight and other diseases, and they are so thick of branches which make a great hiding place for pests. Birds can’t get into eat as many insects in an overgrown tree. Lots of fungus that attack fruit trees like powdery mildew and other fungus in the garden is to ensure that the leaves stay dry.It also helps cut out dead and dying diseased branches that stimulate new growth for future years.

So I was thinking others also said keep things dry and cleaned out with squash leaves.

Here’s what Adam Pruett said too: 

Something you would steer new gardeners away from that you find is typically challenging to grow in your climate.

I guess, I don’t want to talk about this too much, but I would just go back to tomatoes! Grow tomatoes, but don’t get over zealous about it. I guess be careful with growing melons, cucumbers, zucchini, definitely susceptible with powdery mildew around here. Pretty much every gardener I talked to, had poswerfy mildew on their leaves. I know they’re really easy to grow, you get nice large melons, close to the ground, it’s really moist to  a trellis, some way to lift them off the ground, get them lifted off the dirt. don’t grow on the dirt.  I think that increases the powdery mildew and molds and rot.

Is it because of all the rain and moisture you’re getting on the Eastern Side?

We have humid summers in general

Lift your stuff off the ground if you can. I talked about the nylon nets, 

build a couple of posts that are about a foot tall and they will grow in that.

they will grow off the ground! You won’t have as many problems!

You don’t have to do that even, if you have a metal cage beware of rust, make sure it’s galvanized, be aware of what’s in your garden… Is it coated in chemicals?

You can spray your leaves with baking soda. You have to get your ph high, powdery mildew doesn’t like a high alkalinity surface. It will not grow on a high alkaline. I think a ph of 10? If you spray baking soda and milk and spray them before any kind of powdery mildew from starting in the first place. spray them preventatively.

Here are some solutions to powdery mildew I found:

In Episode 52 Shelly Clark talks about the importance of you need to getting rid of those bottom leaves so that air can get around the bottom of the plant. to reduce the risk of bugs in your cabbages and I think this works for powdery mildew too?!

from Growing A Greener World

and similar advice from the Master Gardeners of Santa Clara (this was my favorite answer I think – the most comprehensive anyway)

So there’s some resources for you on dealing with Zucchini Mildew and Slugs. Apparently I wrote this blog post last spring and never posted it. If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to let us know!




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