In the Garden

With the onset of the cooler months I have switched from growing the warmer season produce, to the cooler ones of onions, garlic, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.  Mentioning broccoli I have had awful luck with germinating the seeds this year. I must have a poor batch of seeds. I am on my third tray of seedlings and I have about a 20% success rate. Out of desperation I brought seedlings today! I have some new seeds on order so hopefully I will have better luck with them! 

My beautiful crop of beans that I expected to produce until the frost hit, have succumbed to rust. It started as little rusty orange circles on the backs of the leaves and finally started to infect the pods. I should have treated it before it became so out of control, I do know better. *Sigh* Another lesson learned. I will be sure to plant rust resistant varieties next year.

Bean rust

Dwarf beans with rust spores on the leaves.

Bed 5

The refreshed bed after the beans were removed.

Bed 1

 The Roma tomatoes are still cropping beautifully – not a huge glut, but just enough for me to have one everyday. The capsicums are just about finished too, I harvested almost 1.5kg yesterday, they will be frozen for later use. I am debating what to do with lovely huge eggplant. It has grown so well should I try to put it in a pot and protect it from the frosts or just start afresh next spring? Any advice would be much appreciated…

Bed 2

There is still afew volunteer potatoes growing, I will let them go until the frosts knock them back. Fingers crossed there will be a few good ones to harvest.

Bed 3

The cucumbers I planted out way back here are growing so well! I must remember next year to plant out some seeds later in the summer. They seem to be enjoying the cooler weather. I am going to put a sheet over them during the frosts, just to see how long I can keep them going for….  Also in this bed is garlic, onions and carrots.

Bed 4

And finally the peas are growing merrily, I will pop the next lot in shortly so hopefully there will be a good supply for them soon.  I am growing them on the tomato towers.  Multi-purpose!  I love it. 

On the harvesting front, we would be starving if we depended on the garden soley for food at the moment.  Learning things such as successive planting and just how far I can push plants in our climate are important.  But these things will come with time and experience. 

How are your gardens going?

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Termites 2

Just when I thought they were gone, termites have been found again, this time in the house.  It appears not to much damage has been done, but enough that a free standing wall will need to be replaced.  Yep its the toilet/ laundry internal wall….   I honestly never thought I’d be posting a picture of my toilet on here!

Termite eaten wall

The wall has been treated and taped up to stop the buggers escaping.  Next week it will be checked for live ones and fingers crossed given the all clear!  Luckily not too much has been eaten so it should be fairly easy to replace.

Termites

back area loquat tree

This last weekend it was planned that the new cho0k food garden would be built.  Instead when it came time to find the wood for the sides in the timber pile , Termites were found. 

Last year we were given a pile of old fence palings that I was planning on recycling into palings for under the house, you know the bits between the stumps.  The timber was stacked up against some other hardwood timber we had stored here.  A few of the new palings must have been pine and the termites quickly moved in. (Luckily they ignored the hardwood!)  ~ Below an idea of what it used to look like… ~

woodpile

 

Thank goodness we have chooks that seem to find Termites are delicacies!  They quickly cleaned up any visible bugs and spent the remainder of the morning happily scratching away looking for more.  The timber has now been sorted and cleaned up so fingers crossed the termites are all gone.  Any obvious pine pieces are gone now too. 

So next weekend it is planned that all the ‘timber’ we have stored under the house will be removed and checked to for termites.  The house is sprayed every year for termites but it is months before the exterminator come again and by them our house might be eaten away.  Better safe than homeless….

Hungry hungry caterpillars

Holes in the tomatoes

 

Despite the tomato plants looking rather *dead* the fruits are still ripening.  (For some reason this plant produced well and then decided to curl up almost die…  The other plants are looking abit hungry so – Note to self fertilize garden!)   Anyway the crops were going well until  a hungry hungry caterpillar decided to eat its way through most of my crop!

Another holey tomato

A guilty member of the ‘destroy the tomato’ party.

A big guilty grub

Got to love Tony’s grubby hands he permantly has greasey black hands… even after a shower!

Remedy to deal with above wreaking party.  Feed them to the chooks!  I also have cut down the plant in the first photo, it was all but dead and the caterpillar ate holes through all of the fruit on the bushes. 

Total fruit lost – 4kg

Hot days and Powdery Mildew

It is hot, dang hot.   Everything is wilting and soft.  And suddenly I am watering everyday just to keep things alive, such a shock after the cool spring with decent rainfall.  Along with the heat the powdery mildew has arrived on the zucchini plants.

zuchinni with mildew

Two treatment methods:

Mix 1 part full cream milk with 9 parts of water.  Spray the stems and leaves with the milky solution.  Reapply after rain.

Spray the leaves with a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda (bicarb soda) with 4 cups of water.  This will change the pH of the leaves and create an inhospitable environment.

 

I hope you are all keeping cool in this heat and your gardens are surviving!

Grasshoppers

I don’t know if you have been inundated by these but we have.  Many of the plants have holes eaten in the leaves.

grasshopper

Image taken from http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_grasshoppers/index.html 

This is some of the damage to the bigger plants.  They have also taken up eating the seedlings as they emerge from the ground!

silverbeet

potatoes

pak choy

Some control methods

  • Bury a glass jar to the rim in the soil.  Fill up half way with 1 part molasses to 10 parts of water.  They will hope into the sweet smelly mix and die.
  • Spray plants with a coffee spray.  Brew coffee 5 or 10 times stronger than normal and when it is cool spray it onto your plants.
  • Try a Chili spray.  Crush chilli’s in a food processor and seep in hot water over night.  Strain and spray affected  plants.  If you mix in some ca-stile soap (or a few drops of dish washing liquid) it will help it to stick.  CAUTION do not use this spray on windy days and wear gloves and goggles.  Keep kids and pets away until it is dry!
  • Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled onto plants.  DE has razor sharp edges that penetrate the hoppers exoskeleton, dehydrating them and killing them. The same effect is had internally as they will also eat DE. Be sure to wear a mask when working with DE, you do not want to inhale it!  It will also wash off in rain.
  • Use a product like pyrethrin to kill nymphs in the first or second instar (when they are young)  This method may kill any other bugs around too.
  •  

    I will be trialing the molasses jars first as it is the easiest and less toxic of all the methods mentioned.  I will let you know how it goes.

    What’s bugging me?

    28 spotted lady bug

    28 spotted lady beetles on the potatoes

    Chewed Raspberry plants

    Chewed holes in my raspberry plants.  Caused by these little buggers

    can you see it?

    So far no powdery mildew on the cucurbits, yet.  Oh I know it is coming.  Every year without fail. 
    And the peacharine tree is showing very obvious signs that my spraying with bourdeax solution did not work.  The leaves are starting to curl up from Peach Leaf Curl.  Next year I will spray the tree twice instead of the once like this last year. 

    peach leaf curl 

    Leaf Spots

    The herb garden is becoming a mini jungle.  Toys are accidentally entering it, only to never come out.  It might be the children next!

    herb garden

    The kids have discovered the joy if iced mint or lemon balm tea.  And every meal seems to be sprinkled with parsley or chives at the moment.  Though Tony is starting to look abit green when he sees another dish with parsley in it!

    Over the last few weeks I have noticed the parsley is developing spots.  Leaf spots.  Upon further research it appears to be Septoria petroselini.  (Or else an Alternaria. variety)  This is a fungal disease that is spread by water droplets.  It is most prominent in the older leaves and during humid weather.  It is carried in seeds so infected plants should not be used for seed saving.

    parsley spots

    Treatments.  In all honesty unless you are growing these plants for resale purposes, the spots can stay.  However, if it really bothers you (yeah it sort of annoys me) there is several treatment methods.  

    Cultural  Methods

    • Avoid overhead watering particularly late in the day. 
    • Remove all infected plants and debris from the area
    • Practise clean methods of gardening, such as washing tools and pots
    • Treat new seeds with a hot water treatment before sowing
    • Increase spaces between the plants for more air circulation

    Biological –   No biological methods are known

    Chemical – There is chemical treatments available I am unable to find any products that are available for domestic use. 

    What will I be doing?  As all of the plants are bolting to seed, they will need replacing.  I will be growing them from seed and these plants will replace the diseased ones.  As a precaution I will use the hot water treatment on the seeds and will clean the garden out of all debris and diseased plants.

    Do you have any plant problems that you would like help with?  Email me at littlefarminthecity.hotmail.com

    Fruit Fly Control Methods

    This is our Peach-a-rine tree.  Looks like it is covered in rubbish.  But it’s not really they are fruit fly exclusion bags.  I am a bit disappointed with the fruit this year, very few of the flowers set.  Oh well there is a week so worth of fruit and there is always next year.

    There is three types of exclusion bags I am trialing this year, two I am using on this tree – a wax paper bag available from Green Harvest and a mesh sleeve.  The mesh sleeve is made of fly mesh (you can buy 3 or so metres of it for roughly $4) a length is cut and then folded in half and stitched up the length.  (like the sleeve of a shirt)  The sleeves are then slipped over the tree branch and tied with string at each end. (Let me know if you want how-to-make-it pictures).

    Both are very arkward to use, the bags a good for single fruit.  The sleeve is great for several fruit on one branch.  The poor leaves are abit squished up.  But it can’t be as bad as last year when I used an old mozzie net to cover the tree, half the branches were twisted by the end of the season as the net was too small *opps*

    I will keep you posted on the outcome with these bags.