November 28, 2012

Tragedy in the greenhouse

My favorite green of all time is spinach.  And I have had no problems growing greens - until now.  It figures spinach would be the green to succumb to a pretty gross fungus. 

A few weeks ago I saw a leaf that looked like this.  Pretty gross huh?  It's downy mildew, or Peronospora farinosa, and is one of the biggest diseases that spinach has.  It spreads by spores so it travels fast.  How fast you ask?  When I came back after the weekend it was everywhere:

Gross!!!!  What you're seeing are the spores of the fungus and yellowing leaves that are a result of it.  I haven't had time to do proper research yet, but here are a few facts:
  1. If you've been eating the greens I grow don't worry!  I haven't been putting any spinach in for a while.  I'm pretty sure you'd be ok if you ate some downy mildew - but I'm not sure.  You should wash your greens anyways.
  2. This species of downy mildew is specific to spinach.  There are other species of downy mildew that attack lettuce but I forget the name right now.  Because of this I can leave the spinach in the greenhouse and watch it slowly die.  It's sad, the upcoming spinach crops were some of the best.
  3. Downy mildew likes moist, cool environments.  It's pretty happy in the greenhouses.   

No comments:

Post a Comment