Basil problem HELP!

I am trying to grow basil in containers with a mix of sphagum peat moss and perlite (2:1), pH adjusted to 6 with horticultural lime. The last two times, my plants did not look good after reaching about 4 or 5 inches. They get spots of silvery stuff on the leaves. This is accompanied by tiny black spots and the plant growth slows to a crawl. After close inspection, I don't think that it is any kind of insect. I am feeding with a VERY dilute balanced nutrient solution with micronutrients with every watering letting top of the soil dry before watering again. I have also had this problem with my spearmint (although it doesn't seem to bother the mint much) and patchouli (just starting to happen here). Any ideas??
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Hello George!
I'd consider going to an animal farm and or at least get some real compost. Gardening is about death, decay and transformation back into life. If you prefer sterile growing conditions good luck! It's sort of like children growing up without bugs and dirt and the increase in asthma. Can be done but is difficult and some folk's like a challenge.
Get dirty.
Bill
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Where are you? on the moon? Try adding some soil to the mix. If you worry about soil borne diseases you can cook the soil first.
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It almost sounds like some kind of blight or mildew, although I've never heard of anything like that attacking basil. I start my basil indoors in a window sill every spring, using recycled plastic 6-pack containers from the nursery and just regular garden soil. I soak them thoroughly when I sow the seed and keep them very wet until most of the seeds germinate. After that, I back off on the water. When the plants are about 1 to 1.5 inches tall I start putting them in a protected place outside during the day, as long as the temps are at least 50F. At that point, I give them a little Miracle-Gro once a week or so. As the weather gets warmer, the plants spend increasing amounts of time outdoors until it's time to transplant them into the garden. I live in Colorado, where the relative humidity is usually quite low, so I don't have a lot of trouble with mildew. Don't know if this was helpful or not, but good luck, Gary
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. I will try adding 25% mushroom compost next time

Nothing wrong with trying stuff. My gardening technique is different each year. My garden however is different every day! Hope you can own your own land someday, meanwhile community garden's could afford the chance to get down and dirty.
Best
Bill
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George Orwell wrote:

Two parts peat moss to one part perlite might be a bit too acidic. Also, herbs like basil and mint do very well without excess nutrients.
Try my home-made potting mix. See <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html . However,cut the blood meal and bone meal in half; and use only a pinch of iron sulfate. Since basil is an annual, you can omit the zinc sulfate (which is optional anyway) and Epsom salts. For the mint (a perennial), a pinch of Epsom salts is still useful to promote new shoots; but you can wait until the second year for this.
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David E. Ross
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They thrive in dry conditions. You could try spraying your plants with a fine mister, especially under the leaves.
I have a couple of two-foot wooden tubs outdoors (here in U.K.), and in the spring I throw another few handfuls of growbag (tomato) compost on, to top them up ('cos it always sinks down a bit through the winter).
In one tub I sprinkle coriander seeds, in the other I sprinkle basil seeds. Then I put on a rack from a dead refrigerator (to keep the cats off). The basil seeds came up last week after only 1 day, the coriander is more shy and takes about a week, it's just poking through now.
I don't feed them with anything, I just water them when they look dry, and they provide me with leaves until October.
VERY INTERESTED to hear about your growing patchouli. Where can I get some seeds?
s.
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