Powdery Mildew on Pumpkins, Cucumbers and Squash

We returned home from a lovely long weekend at a friend’s cottage to discover this…

Powdery mildew attack!

Powdery mildew attack!

… our lovely pumpkin “octopus” – the sprawl of pumpkin leaves which has been creeping across the lawn, had been almost entirely consumed by powdery mildew, in a span of only 3 days! This nasty, fast-spreading fungus is characterized by fuzzy white patches on the leaves of your pumpkin, zucchini, cucumber and squash plants. (Although it can affect other plants too!) Your plants are at particular risk during periods of high humidity and damp weather. The spores growing on the leaves eventually block out the leaves’ ability to photosynthesize, wreaking havoc on the plants’ productivity. In other words, it’s bad news!

How to get rid of this stuff?! For starters, I immediately removed all of the infected leaves (my heart breaking a little with each snip of the scissors.) I put all of the cut leaves in the green bin, NOT in the compost, since I don’t want it to spread any further than it already has.

Pile of mildewed leaves next to ravaged pumpkin plants. Sniff, sniff...

Pile of mildewed leaves next to ravaged pumpkin plants. Sniff, sniff…

Next I did a thorough internet search and it seems that there are two possible organic “kitchen remedies”. The first is a mixture of baking soda, soap and water. I tried this last year when our squash were infected with a less severe but equally annoying bout of mildew. It didn’t seem to work well.

This time I am going to try a milk solution on the leaves of the pumpkins and zucchini, as well as the cucumbers because there are definitely a few leaves with early signs of mildew. (Prevention is the best medicine.) Growveg.com suggests that a mixture of 3 parts milk to 7 parts water is a good ratio to try. Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it goes…

Early signs of powdery mildew on cucumber leaves.

Early signs of powdery mildew on cucumber leaves.

In-Season Recipe (late August): Tofu-Stuffed Baked Zucchini

Tofu-stuffed zucchini, served with curried sweet potato. Yuuuum!

Tofu-stuffed zucchini, served with curried sweet potato. Yuuuum!

Zucchini are one of my favourite veggies.  Think about it… it’s delicious grilled on the BBQ, in sauces, in curries, in antipasto, sliced cold with hummus, even baked in loaf form alongside chocolate and walnuts! It’s also packed with all sorts of good vitamins and minerals and high in fibre. You really can’t go wrong.

Here is a delicious and fun way to combine your zucchini with tofu for a protein packed dish:

You will need…

From the garden:

These zucchinis complements of Grandpa Frank's garden!

These zucchinis complements of Grandpa Frank’s garden!

  • A couple nice big zucchinis
  • Few cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • Fresh basil, oregano and thyme, chopped
  • Two or three tomatoes

From the grocer:

  • 1/2 block of tofu, crumbled
  • Handful of olives (Kalamata or Greek colossal work well), coarsely chopped
  • About 1/2 cup bread crumbs (Gluten free? Try almond flour instead!)
  • About 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Dairy-free? Try nutritional yeast instead!)
  • Dash salt
  • Tablespoon cracked peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To make filling: Warm olive oil in a cast iron skillet on low-med heat. Add garlic and saute til soft. Add tofu, olives, tomatoes and herbs and allow to cook down til it’s nice and saucy. Dash of salt if needed.
  3. While filling is simmering, cut zucchinis in halve, lengthwise. Scoop out the seedy part of in the middle like you’re hollowing out a canoe. (Tip: Freeze the scooped-out zucchini to make zucchini bread later!) Lay out zucchinis on a casserole dish or baking sheet.
  4. Scoop out the filling into each zucchini.

    Stuffed!

    Stuffed!

  5. In a dish, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.
  6. Spoon a generous layer of the bread crumb mixture on top of each zucchini. Drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Bake 20-30 minutes, until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the zucchinis are soft but not mushy.
  8. Give each zucchini a squirt of fresh lemon juice right before serving.

    Right out da oven.

    Right out da oven.

Bon appetit!