The solution to this common garden problem may already be in your refrigerator. To keep powdery mildew at bay, expert gardener Joe (@joesgarden.official) took to Instagram to share a homemade fungicide made from milk.


Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that attacks the leaves, stems and flowers of plants and is characterized by a dusty white appearance as if the plant is covered in a layer of flour. Roses, squash, cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, beans and peas are commonly affected by different types of fungi that cause powdery mildew, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

This fungus thrives in dry, warm climates, especially on plants that are surrounded by high humidity, such as those crowded together or with weeds around them. The fungus spreads on the leaves, hindering the plant’s ability to absorb important nutrients. This stunts the plant’s growth, reduces fruiting, and can kill the plant. If left unattended, the infection can easily spread to nearby plants as well.

Joe’s natural solution is to spray a homemade fungicide made from 20-80 milk and fresh water. Simply add the solution to a spray bottle and spray the top and bottom of the leaves well on a sunny day. Repeat this once a week for best results.

This solution should be applied as a preventive measure or in the early stages of infection. It is best to remove any severely affected leaves. Joe explained, “The idea of ​​using milk as a fungicide has been around since the 1950s… It’s not yet 100% certain how or why it works, some say it’s the proteins in the milk, others say it’s the phosphates, but all I know is The reason is phosphate. I know that over the past three years it has worked wonders in my garden.

Research has explored the effectiveness of milk-based fungicides for decades and has found the best results with dairy that is higher in fat.

How it helps

Made from ingredients you have at home, Joe’s Milk-based fungicide is a cheap and accessible way to tackle the dreaded powdery mildew. In addition to saving money, the mixture is quick to make and easy to apply so the problem can be treated immediately. This homemade solution also lacks the harsh chemicals found in store-bought fungicides that contaminate soil and water.

What everyone says

For those who worry that the garden will smell like spoiled milk, Joe confirms that he has never had an odor problem caused by sprays that are too diluted.

While many commenters were willing to try the solution, others looked for a plant-based alternative. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of plant-based milks is currently unknown.

“I’ve heard that baking soda and soap in water work well too,” suggests one commenter for those looking for a vegan alternative. The calendar lists both milk spray and baking soda and water mixtures to be effective options for homemade methods for preventing powdery mildew.

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