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PostPosted: Oct 12th, '16, 07:06 
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Hello, I have an in-apartment system I built that's raised mint, tomatoes, onions and parsley well. However, basil keeps getting killed by some sort of disease I can't identify. I don't think it's aphids although I've treated with tomato leaf extract to try to stop them if that's what it is.

Can anybody identify, just by looking at these photos attached, what might be the culprit and how to treat it?

My goldfish have been happily living in their tank for over 2 years now, I'd hate to kill them off accidentally..

Thanks in advance!!


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PostPosted: Oct 12th, '16, 07:09 
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looks like powdery mildew to me.


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PostPosted: Oct 12th, '16, 07:10 
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So @yavimaya, what's the best approach for stopping this disease while in aquaponics? Thanks for the help!!


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PostPosted: Oct 12th, '16, 07:52 
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milk or baking soda spray.
remove all affected leaves and dispose of away from the AP system, etc.
lower temperature and humidity in the AP room.


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PostPosted: Oct 12th, '16, 08:01 
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Looks like a mold although I don't think it's powdery mildew (which usually is white and more raised). Considering the time of year and that basil is a warm weather crop, if your setup is outside it may be too late to get this going in an AP setup. Mine is giving up the ghost and has been for a few weeks and I know you've got the cool weather there as well. Around 60 degrees is usually when Basil starts having troubles (my current water temp is 64 but it dropped below this about a week ago).


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '16, 00:34 
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Thanks to both of you for your tips. It's an indoor aquaponics system, homebuilt design (photo attached). But it's in San Francisco so we do have issues with humidity and mold. Last year I had a basil plant last nine months in the same rig without a problem, but now plant after plant have died the same way all summer long (3 so far). I just pulled the basil plant out to compost it. The leaves are the affected parts-- now black and dried out. The stems, however are still green and vibrant. Whatever it is seems to like just the leaves. There's a weird rotting smell coming from it as well that my wife is complaining about.

I'll see if I can track down some sort of black spotty mold and if I find some solutions I'll repost here for anybody else reading.


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '16, 00:36 
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Thanks to both of you for your tips. It's an indoor aquaponics system, homebuilt design (photo attached). But it's in San Francisco so we do have issues with humidity and mold. Last year I had a basil plant last nine months in the same rig without a problem, but now plant after plant have died the same way all summer long (3 so far). I just pulled the basil plant out to compost it. The leaves are the affected parts-- now black and dried out. The stems, however are still green and vibrant. Whatever it is seems to like just the leaves. There's a weird rotting smell coming from it as well that my wife is complaining about.

I'll see if I can track down some sort of black spotty mold and if I find some solutions I'll repost here for anybody else reading.


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '16, 00:41 
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Those spores on the bottom look a lot like the photo here about this very thing... I think the downy mildew direction might be right, but not the white kind, apparently there's a basil specific kind. Yikes.

https://aquaponicsusa.wordpress.com/tag/basil-diseases/


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '16, 02:57 
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Could be Downy Mildew of Basil but flip the leaves over and look for more mold but also look for spider mites which are very tiny and cause damage that looks pitted and dried like some of the damaged areas of those leaves (you may have more than one thing going on). Any idea what those green bits in the lower left corner of your earlier picture were?

On the link you posted the mold is on the underside and there is yellowing above but no spores - which is different than what you have (your mold spores are on the upper leaf surface). Maybe it's just not as far along but it might be something unrelated.

I noticed a couple of things that could be contributing. Your plants seem slightly elongated which is an indication that they aren't getting enough light. Could be the tomato and other plants are blocking out too much for the lower plants. The plants are in there pretty tight so you'll also need to up the air movement if you don't have a fan near this. That will help the leaves dry out and prevent some mold problems.

Minimize any splashing of water up on to the leaves as well.

I notice that the plant to the left in the pot also has something going on - it may be related, especially if there is a spider mite problem.

Hope this helps


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '16, 12:23 
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@scotty435, thanks for the tips! There's a lamp in the middle, but you're right that the tomato leaves might be blocking some of that LED light's output. There's also a big window there but unfortunately it's east facing so doesn't get that much light. What is the best treatment if it's spider mites?

I've got parsley growing fairly well, but it's developed white spots (1-2 per leaf) which I can't identify. In addition, I have mint, and it also has developed something that I think is aphids but could also be mites or mold. In the case of the mint, tomato leaf extract spray seemed to help somewhat, so I thought maybe that was aphids. The tomato leaf spray had no effect whatsoever on the basil.

I do think the idea of a fan is great. We do get mildew a lot in SF. Would I need to enclose the system in plastic sheeting or something if I installed a fan, or would simply having a breeze going by the plants dry them out sufficiently?

Thanks again for all your help!!! I feel privileged to be getting these pointers.


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PostPosted: Oct 14th, '16, 01:42 
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Glad to help :thumbright:

Just setting up the fan should be enough.

atlas3650 wrote:
What is the best treatment if it's spider mites


I'm not sure what to tell you on that. I grow mostly outside and just pull the plants with spider mites and dispose of them. That knocks down the population well enough I don't have to spray but I do lose some of the crop I could have gotten. It's very common to see these on beans and basil when the temperatures gets above 80 (usually see the population explode in July here). Inside, like your situation with the heat from the light it could probably happen anytime. The fan should help. I'm sure others have dealt with this sort of situation so someone will probably chime in. In the meantime, if you find there are spider mites present try searching the forum for a situation that matches yours. I have seen 1 to 1 rubbing alcohol mentioned online as a spray that works. It might be worth a try but I'm not certain how flammable it is - I'd let the light cool before I tried this (just in case).


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PostPosted: Oct 14th, '16, 01:44 
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Thanks for this, scotty435. I did find this posting on spider mites, with some good suggestions:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8877

My wife is saying, you're already spending too much on electricity as it is, can you get a solar fan? If i had that much sunlight I wouldn't need LED's, LOL


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PostPosted: Oct 14th, '16, 03:11 
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Your wife is right, you need a greenhouse :lol:


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PostPosted: Oct 14th, '16, 05:46 
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cover the growbeds with newspaper as muc as possible and use white oil on spider mites.

dont let the white oil get into the water.

make your own white oil for safer oil, dont buy petroleum based commercial oil.

2 things, you said you arent sure.
if you dont see green things moving around, you dont have aphids.
if you dont see black spots moving around, you dont have spider mites.


im still pretty sure its all mold / mildew.


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PostPosted: Oct 14th, '16, 07:53 
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It helps to have a magnifying glass with the mites some people can't see them without one.

Good point on covering the beds Yavi - The same would be true for the rubbing alcohol - at 1 to 1 it would wipe out the bacteria in your grow bed although I think most of it will evaporate away or be significantly diluted before this happens it's a good idea to cover the bed (much lower levels will still kill the bacteria). Try not to get much over spray when working with this, oil based sprays or sprays with detergents/soaps (the latter two are more for the sake of the fish but oils can also coat your lungs so even though they are relatively safe use common sense).


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