I have suffered my first official crisis as a basil grower for the last three weeks. Seems that something has overtaken my basil plants and I don't like it! Unfortunately, I had been so busy with finishing up my last weeks of OB that it took me a while to even realize I had a problem.
I was checking my plants as I usually do when I get home from school and noticed these small necrotic-looking black spots on some of the leaves of both basil plants. I cut the spotted leaves off and called it a day. But hellooo, there they were again(!!), the next day, and then the next day. At first I inspected the bottom of the leaves in case some little critters had decided to set up shop under there, but I found nada! I had to figure out what it was soon cause my basil was going down fast so I did what I always do when I'm in need of answers quick... I Googled it. After browsing through a few websites, I narrowed it down to a fungus called Colletotrichum (black spot disease). From what I read about it, it seemed to fit the description of my basil problem pretty well. The website said that Colletotrichum occurs especially in places with high humidity. It's also
perpetuated by overhead watering (guilty!) because it prolongs leaf wetness. So there you go...
My only problem now was that none of the websites gave a specific remedy for this problem. Because it's the actual leaves that we eat, there really aren't too many products on the market that can be applied to the leaves that wouldn't do harm to us if we consumed it. So I decided to go the non-fungicidal route and hope for the best. First thing I did was bring my two plants indoors. That would drastically cut the amount of
humidity they'd be exposed to on a daily basis. The next thing I did was remove any leaf that had a black spot on it. And let me tell you, there were A LOT! I thought my plants would be bare by the time I was finished with them. The last thing I did was stop overhead watering to keep the leaves as dry as possible.
After almost a week I thought the basil was a goner. I would still come home and find new spotted leaves. But FINALLY (with a little time and patience), it looks like my basil is going to pull through. For the last couple of days I've only seen maybe one or two new spotted leaves. I'm so glad! I thought I was going to have to start all over again.
On a brighter note, my tomato plants have taken off since I transplanted them! The plants look beautiful and healthy and the first set of flower blossoms have come in. I'm crossing my fingers that I'm lucky enough to avoid the dreaded blossom drop! It's pretty tricky because weather plays a huge role in whether or not the blossoms will produce fruit or just dry up and drop off. Any extremes are bad (humidity, heat, cold, rain), and if you know South Florida weather, you know that's ALL we have! So let's see what these next couple of weeks bring.... I hope it's delicious beefsteak tomatoes!!! :)