Help for Sunflower

Lyrid meteor shower

Todaywas the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower. We set up four cameras in the cupola simultaneously takingpictures.  Gardener said there wereplaces on Earth that were doing the same and all these pictures taken togetherwill make a very interesting scientific data set.  Since I had been placed next to a window, Iwas living through 16 periods of day-night every 24 hours.  Jet-lagged, I could thus stay awake duringthe night and help in the observations.

Gardenerhas been spending a lot of time playing a computer game.  His computer is near our grow light so we canwatch him.  He plays in the morningbefore works starts and in the evening after work is over.  He must find this relaxing.  The game he plays is called “Catch theDragon”.  The best part about this gameis that he does not have to put in any quarters.


Sunflowerhas brown patch.  His leaves are coveredwith dry, dark blotches.  He is nothappy.  Gardener says it looks like afungus.  I am afraid that if something isnot done we are going to lose Sunflower. The crew medical kit is designed for animals not plants so there are nomedications for this disease.  Gardeneris treating Sunflower with a disinfectant wipe that has an antibacterial agentcalled BZK (Benzalkonium chloride).  Wedo not know if this is going to work. Our spacecraft is designed for animals so life can be a struggle forplants.  On the frontier, the answers arenot found in the back of the book and sometimes you have to venture into theunknown and improvise.


TheBZK wipes seem to be helping.  Gardenerpats down Sunflower’s leaves every other day. He does this with the healthy new green ones as well.  Sunflower is beginning to smile again.  Broccoli and I seem resistant to this so heis not treating us.  

Don’s blog also appears at

11 thoughts on “Help for Sunflower”

  1. i love reading about don’s adventures in space. his time lapse video is amazing! we can all learn from experience had at the ISS. show& tell your children about him& his experiences& enrich their future! :)) thanks don!!

  2. Human antifungal cream works on plant fungus, at least it does on mine on earth. But, be careful with it since it comes in a vaseline base that might make the leave not breathe (so apply very little, diluted with water on the wipe.

  3. I do not know your soil chemistry but I have never gone wrong w/ dish soap, vege oil, Superthrive, Miracle Gro, and a little Epson Salt all in a MG Feeder. Ratio is 1 feeder packet of MG,equal parts soap & oil, and directions on back of Epson salt. Remember Magnesium is essential for many plant process’ and leaches thru acidic, sandier soils faster.
    Copper &/or Sulfur application done proper will fix the fungus if needed
    Hope this helps!
    Rock On! (Plants love music 2)

    Aaron F.S. Christensen

    a.k.a. Rock “N” Roll.

  4. Dear Don Pettit,

    I am a student of Aerospace Engineering, interested in math and languages and cultures and traditions. Could you please ask somebody in charge, maybe NASA Houston center or anybody, to turn the switch off thats manning my car driving missions? I will play some good blues and Jazz songs especially for you. Thanks a lot. Also, i will read your comments carefully, making my own sense. If it doesnt make sense, come back to Mother Earth and have the pleasure of scolding me. I am nice at taking that, and that only. Thanks much! Respect brvv. Will check the pics you have clicked.


  5. This is wonderful. It helps me feel like I am looking over your shoulders. Thank you for your wonderful accomplishments.

  6. you are worth living…seein many beautiful things that almost not every human can see.keep posting

  7. Poor Sunflower. The BZK may be help. Looks a little like the normal aging I see on my sunflowers leaves that are near the bottom of the stalk. Love sunflower seeds so hope your feeling better soon.

  8. What a gardener will do for his plants. Just think what the pea plant would be saying, or Mendel.

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