GeneralSustainable Farming

Battling Garden Fungus!

By Jun 23, 2023 No Comments

Battling Garden Fungus!

You spend a lot of time out in your garden tending to your plants, fighting to get rid of weeds, and lovingly preparing for the next harvest or set of beautiful blooms. Suddenly, you see it. Fuzzy white patches are sitting on your soil. Some of your plants have wilting, yellowing leaves. The fungus has arrived.

Pests are a sworn enemy of gardeners and hobbyists everywhere, but fungus causes just as much damage. Understanding where it comes from, what type it is, and what it means for your garden is the first step toward eradication. In this article, you’ll learn more about the different types of fungi, from the not-so-friendly varieties that have no business in your garden to a few that come with benefits. Armed with that knowledge, we’ll teach you how to kick fungus to the curb and keep your garden healthy and happy.

What Causes Fungus?

When you think about fungus, what comes to mind? Some people may picture mushrooms. You may recall the scent of wet, rotting wood. While those hold true in many circumstances, there’s a lot more to fungus. When it comes to gardens, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

Fungus isn’t always easy to spot at first. It may seem like it came from nowhere. In truth, fungus often finds its way to overly-moist spots. If the soil is too wet or has poor drainage, it’s a playground for fungus. Poor air circulation, overcrowding of your plants, and high humidity are all fungal invitations, too. Proper garden planning is one of the first steps to preventing fungus from settling in.

How to Spot Fungus in Your Garden

Spotting fungus early increases your chance of victory. Look for these signs on your plants, as they could mean you’re dealing with a fungus issue.

  • Black spots
  • Rusty leaves
  • Fuzzy mold
  • White powder

Each of these symptoms indicates a different type of fungus. Some, like powdery mildew, continue to spread even in dry conditions and affect multiple types of plants. That means your whole garden is at risk from these fungal fiends if you don’t get the situation under control.

Other types of fungus affect specific plants, meaning you might lose a whole crop of a specific vegetable but everything else seems unaffected. For instance, tomatoes suffer from specific ailments like southern blight and early blight that have specific signs of their own.

The best rule of thumb is to monitor all of your plants for any signs that something is out of the ordinary.

Natural Garden Fungus Remedies

As frustrating as the fungus is, there are several effective, natural remedies out there. You won’t need to douse your garden in harmful chemicals just to get rid of it. Instead, try these methods.

Hydrogen Peroxide

A solution of hydrogen peroxide and water is a great answer to your growing fungus problem. Mix up one part peroxide to nine parts water (so try an ounce of hydrogen peroxide with nine ounces of water) and add it to a spray bottle. Spray your affected plant (or plants) with the solution. Don’t be shy! Food-grade hydrogen peroxide is safe to use on everything from vegetables to ornamental flowers.

Baking Soda – For Garden Fungus

This is probably the simplest, yet one of the most effective, methods on the list. All you’ll need is a box of baking soda. Sprinkle it over the area affected by the fungus, water it, and you’re good to go. Baking soda is a natural fungicide and will take care of several varieties of fungus, making it your new best friend.

Neem Oil

Neem oil doesn’t kill fungus in the same way that baking soda will, but it’s highly effective at preventing the spread. This is particularly important with powdery mildew, which hops from plant to plant. Neem oil comes with the additional benefit of treating a wide variety of pests and it’s generally good to have in your gardening arsenal.


Since vinegar is primarily acetic acid, making it a powerful ally against fungus. Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and carefully spray your affected plants. Vinegar is too strong for some plants, however, so you’ll want to use a bit of caution when applying it. You’re working to help your plants, not cause them further harm!

Chamomile or Turmeric Tea

Turmeric and chamomile are both natural antifungals. The best way to apply either is by brewing them into tea. Use the tea to water the affected plants and you’ll be hydrating and treating them at the same time.

Good Garden Planning to Prevent Fungus

As mentioned above, a properly planned garden is its own defense against many types of fungus. Overcrowding and poor airflow invite fungus in, meaning you need to leave adequate spacing and room to breathe.

Staying on top of watering is an excellent rule of thumb, too. If you’re leaving your soil too wet, watering too frequently, or haven’t ensured there’s adequate drainage, you’re asking for a fungal visitor to move in.

Consider Moving Your Garden

This is a last-ditch effort. If you’ve tried everything and find yourself fighting fungus at every turn, your garden may be poorly positioned. There may be too much shade or inadequate natural drainage that you can’t completely fix. In that case, consider finding a new space to grow. It’s a daunting task, but losing crop after crop to fungus is even more frustrating!

Final Thoughts

Fungus is devastating if left unattended. Some varieties are powerful enough to wipe out entire harvests. Don’t let it get that far, especially with so many viable, natural treatments out there! You don’t have to spend a lot of money or reach for chemical fungicides to get your garden back on track. Just follow the advice in this article and you’ll be harvesting your bounty before you know it.

And what better way to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor than with canning? Sign up for Stoney Creek Farm’s online Canning 101 course and learn to preserve your fresh food. Fungus can’t cramp your style. Come canning with us instead!