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Lettuce Plants

Q.What Are These Teeny Tiny Black Dots All Over EVERYTHING In My Brand New Veg Garden?

Zone 12564 | AJDirt added on June 19, 2022 | Answered

After 20 years, we left a fabulous property with gardens galore last year aiming to downsize and make life simpler. Hard to do to a die hard gardener. My garden was my third child. With simplifying in mind, we somehow bought a small farmhouse on what was once part of a larger farm. Soil is good, but we built a tall raised bed veg garden to make life easier on my back. We filled it with some of our own soul and fabulous composted cow manure from the farm across the road. The veggies are growing super fast, BUT I just noticed teeny tiny black dots (eggs???) all over everything. It’s even on the shredded straw I throw around the plants. I’ve washed a bucketful if lettuces and leafy greens last night and it’s really hard to get every single “dot” before storing the lettuce in fridge. What is this, what do I do about it, and how can I sufficiently clean my greens? I feel like I should know this but I’ve never encountered this before!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 20, 2022

This appears to be one of many pinmolds. Insects will usually lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, or in protected areas. ID will be difficult without a microscope.

Most people have no issues with pinmolds, and you breathe and consume their spores on a regular basis. However, people with compromised immune systems may not fair well consuming this much.

Fungicides will take care of pinmolds. They are quite sensitive as it is. Letting the soil dry out quite a bit can help too. Your plants can handle it, but pinmolds don't like it dry.

Wettable sulfur is one of my favorites for outdoor beds. It is a good fungicide that is safe for use. Just be sure that if you are using as a spray, that you don't do so on hot days in the 90s.

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