In case you missed it, NPR’s Ira Flatow had a segment on Science Friday about spotting sickness in your basil plants. He was joined by Cornell University plant pathologist Margaret McGrath who ran through symptoms of plant sickness and shared tips for preserving plants.
You may know that we’re having a real big heat wave here in the East. Maybe you are also. And I was sure that I went outside yesterday and put a lot of water on my pot of pesto that’s growing on my deck. Of course, it’s not pesto yet. It’s just a nice basil plant. But I’ve got big plans for it and I don’t want the summer heat to do it in because while it is summertime and the living is easy, it’s not easy for everything or everybody, especially plants.
Not only does heat stress the plants, but they’re under a lot of attack. Think about it. There’s wilt. There’s rot, light, rust, and now, the newcomer that worries me the most, the basil downy mildew. Oh, my plant is in trouble.
This is a fungus that was first spotted way back in 2007 in the United States, and it’s been spreading across the country ever since. So how do you identify the disease and what can you do to preserve your pesto prospects? And what about the other sicknesses that are going around your garden?