Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Basil alert: Downy mildew is a threat

Read Adrian Higgins's article, "What's eating your basil? A new fungal disease threatens crops this year and beyond," from today's Washington Post, Food section, p. E1. His article includes two photos of the mildew on basil.


  1. I saw the article too. Looks like home gardeners might have less problems than commercial growers as long as the basil plants aren't planted too close together. Sufficient space surrounding the basil plants for air circulation seems to be a critical factor. If they are planted close together either transplant to increase distance apart or just make pesto more frequently!

    Basil can be frozen. Process in food processor or blender with extra virgin olive oil. Then freeze in ice cube trays. Save basil cubes in freezer bag until ready to use!

    Buon appetito!

  2. Yes, Ria, sufficient space plus sunny location may help alleviate the threat. And Higgins also listed specific varieties that may be resistant.

  3. Thanks for the tip about air circulation. I planted my basil thickly this year so that I would have lots. They look beautiful and healthy, the best basil I've ever grown. Guess I'll enjoy some Pesto this week.

    Hey, my broccoli went straight to flower this year. No heads. Thoughts anyone?

  4. I started my basil from seed this year. I have not experienced any of the symptoms of downy mildew disease in my crop this year. I have a healthy vibrant green patch of basil growing in a pot in the backyard. You can see for yourself on my latest blog post >>

    Maybe since I started from seed.

  5. The basil in your blog is beautiful, Urban Green Thumb. Mine is growing well too, without symptoms yet of downy mildew. I hope it stays that way for both of us. I'd hate to eat all our mouth-watering tomatoes the next two months without any basil fresh-cut in our garden. Keep that green thumb green!

  6. I saw mildew on my basil leaves yesterday,yellow and brown spots almost on all the leaves ,is it ok to eat the leaves or iam not suppose to?

    1. Yes, you can eat the leaves. See more recent post here:


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