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White Powdery Spots on Sage Leaves

White Powdery Spots on Sage Leaves

sage leaf

I've grown small amounts of sage every year. You know what else I've had every year along with it?  White powdery spots on the sage leaves. They seem to appear after a stretch of rain, as the powdery mildew thrives in damp conditions. I can't control the weather, so I'll try to control the spots. Thankfully, sage grows like wildfire, so my method has been to just remove the offending leaves and new ones grow in. But, I'm not really happy with this solution. What a waste! I'm not growing things to discard them. I want to use these fresh ingredients! 

I did a little research and found a few common suggestions for what to spray on the leaves:

  • 10 parts water and 1 part milk
  • 2 tsp sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) mixed with 1 quart of water (some suggest adding dish soap as a way to help the substance stick to the leaves)
  • Replacing the baking soda with potassium bicarbonate (beer and wine makers may know a thing or two about that ingredient)

As a fairly practical person, I tend to go for the reasonable and convenient approach to problem solving. I had milk I need to use up, so I tried the the milk and water mix first. I mixed 10 oz of water with 1 oz skim milk in a spray bottle. I first removed the spotted leaves and then each day for two weeks, I sprayed the tops and underside of the leaves, refrigerating the remaining amount in the spray bottle each time. This showed some improvement, but the spots came back with a vengeance.

Then, after removing spotty leaves again, I tried the baking soda and water mix each day for the next two weeks. What a difference. I've started doing it about every other day now and will reduce it even further, but I'm happy to have the spots gone and have usable sage again. Now....what recipe should I add them to?

Do you experience this issue? If so, let me know what you do about it in the comments.

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