Showing posts with label pests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pests. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Peach Tree is Sick...Beware, Disgusting Pictures Follow.

Weather this Christmas' week has been quite mild.  My area did not get much rain and we had mild sunny long days.  Some unfortunate folks in western Victoria had too much rain and there was damaging flash flooding and hail, so I will not complain on getting too little rain.  The sun was not really enough to get things growing.

Although we have put up the thorny devils to deter possums, two of my choko shoots still got eaten two nights ago. If the possum did not walk on the fence, it could have jumped to and fro our neighbour's gutter onto our fence and nibbled off the shoots.  Secretly I am happy it came back!!! I must be mad!!! It is really a love-hate relationship.  I want it to be able to find food and survive but I do not want it to stay on my property permanently or cause too much damage. I am even tempted to feed it. Somehow I am doing everything I can to stop it/them just because I want to outwit them! It's not fun losing to an animal :P.

Last night we slept at nearly midnight as we caught an afternoon nap as a family. When we were comfortably in bed, I heard some noise on the roof above me. My son and I went out to have a look but found nothing.  We looked at the stars and a spider on its web instead.  My son went back to bed and slept.  I went back to reading on my Ipad. And I heard another noise.  I rushed to my bedroom window and caught sight of a small possum wire-walking away from our house. It does not look like the bush tails which came a week ago.  It was a bit far for me to confirm what possum it was.  It could be a new possum as it was much gentler the way it came and went on our roof. The bush tails were really noisy and heavy-footed.

Possums aside, I now have to deal with brown rot and carpophilus/dried fruit beetle (pests) problem on our peach tree. Our peach tree has been really sick this year.  It had leaf curl followed by aphid attacks and now this.  I had to remove a lot of peaches, gummy branches and dead brown shoots. I have been reading up a lot on this beetle and I have to get rid of them once and for all.  I really have to step up with garden hygiene as well as pesticide/fertiliser applications for the peach tree so that I can get better results next year.

Gummy sap on the peach.
Carpophilus/dried fruit beetle on the peach.

The peach stone/shell all ruined.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 2011 - Summer Update

17 December -

-Removed more plum tree branches to stop possum invasion.
-Netted grapevine.
-Repotted comquat calamondin.
-Harvested more pioneer green beans, strawberries, tomatoes, thai basil.
-Cucumber, kang kang (water spinach) & eggplant sped up in growth.
-Chilli fire fruits growing fast and chilli padi plants growing young chillies.
-Figgy has 20 figs growing!
-Corn almost ready for harvest.

21 December -

- Harvesting plums, tomatoes, thai basil, kaffir lime, lemongrass, pioneer beans

22 December -

- Sprayed grape vine with sodium bicarbonate+soap+oil+water.
- Installed thorny devil possum spikes.
Three watermelon Candy Red looking strong and healthy so far.
Diggers' Sunflower pollenless plants are larger than I have expected.
Diggers' Tomato silvery fir are ripening.

Figgy out of my dining window with lots of figs (brown turkey).
Another shot of Figgy from my dining area.

Finally I see pomegranates. Out of at least 30 flowers, I see 3 fruits.
Kang Kong (water spinach)

Hubby found an Aussie website selling possum deterents called thorny devils. They are rubbery spiky products which we can screw onto the top of our fence. I went down to the stockist (Pinewood Nursery) and bought some home. On the left side of my back garden fence, we screwed in some L-shaped thorny devils.
On the right side of my back garden fence (next to the shed where the possums came from), we installed some thorny devils and nails.
This is a picture of how one type looks like. It fits nicely onto a fence with wooden capping.  So far for the last three nights, we have not had the pests (possum mum and baby) visit our garden and eat our things.  I was very relieved my plans had worked but I was at the same time feeling like a villain.  Honestly, I am one big animal lover. I love possums too.  Moreover the ones which visited are a mummy and a baby. One night they came and I saw them up on the plum tree out of my son's window. I actually went out in my bathrobe shooting a jet of water onto them with a strong nozzle.  The baby tried to jump from the plum tree onto our roof but fell to the ground and scrambled up the fence and escaped.  Sigh...I want them to survive and find food but I just cannot have them eating up my things. I do hope they can find other things in nature to eat other than my fruit and vegetable crops.  My son asked me to feed them but I cannot afford to do so. I will encourage them to be dependent on us and even attract them to live in our roof! There are just too many good reasons not to have them around our property. I already have a dog, several fishes and the pigeons to feed and they are very harmless, but possums are just a bit risky to invite.
Harvested another lot of beans and tomatoes. The tomatoes are really juicy.

A dish of beans and minced pork.
Finally I bought a cheap vase from IKEA to display my hydrangeas on the dining table.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Calendar of Garden Activities.

17-19 October 2011 Lawn and garden watering in the mornings due to hard windy weather.
18 October 2011 New top soil (free from neighbour!) for two areas of garden.
18 October Planted yellow capsicum seeds.
19 October - Scorching windy days. Leafy greens and hydrangea mild wilting.
19 October 2011 Fish fertilizer for calamondin cumquat and eureka lemon.
19 October 2011 Epsom salts for calamondin cumquat (testing for Magnesium deficiency)
20 October 2011 Lawn and garden watering in the morning. Temp 30 deg cel, windy and hot - sown    Peacock's ladyfinger/okra seeds - sown more coriander seeds.
21-22 October 2011 Cloudy and drizzles and at times showers. Hooray!!!
22 October 2011 Pruned Big Fig (Fleming's Brown Turkey fig), Yellow Peach tree and Carolina Black Rose Grape Vine. Wanted to experiment with pruning deciduous branches apart from winter and see the results.
While we were looking at our yellow peach tree few days ago, we spotted a lovely lady bug. We welcome lady bugs but that made me suspicious. Upon closer examination, I realised that most young shoots of my peach tree have been infested with green aphids (pests) :
I took a few days to think about what actions I should take to destroy them. The tree is a little big for pyrethrum spraying. This morning as I was examining the leaves again, I found baby lady bugs (pic below) on the leaves.  They were not a great number compared to the aphids but I was very pleased to see them. I read they eat even more aphids than their adults. I showed my son how the lady bug babies looked like, much like some spidery creatures :
'Big Fig' (Fig brown turkey) was naughty this year, not a fig in sight. So I decided to chop off one branch :
 And watch what the cut branch will do :
I think I have successfully propagated my Thai Basil from cuttings.  They are not withering since propagation at least 2-3 weeks ago. And if I am not wrong, some stems are actually growing new leaves. Celebration!!!
Today's harvest : a basketful of pak choy for chix macaroni soup. The picture uploaded could not be rotated. It happened to a picture of spinach recently. Hmmm same basket...maybe that's the problem?!
These are the tender flower stalks of pak choy. Yesterday my friend Fina came for morning tea.  She brought her parents to see our garden.  Her Dad pointed out that the flower stalks are very tender and delicious, so I harvested them too.  I have too many pak choy flower stalks and they will give me way too many seeds (perhaps millions!) so it is good that I can eat them instead!
Our lunch today : Chicken macaroni soup.  In the pot are my wonderful tomato silvery fir which I have frozen from last summer/autumn and bay leaves from my garden. Yummy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's Been A While.

It's been a long while since I last updated my blog. I have been rather ill-motivated recently due to some incidents regarding a neighbour who was renting the next house. It's nothing to do with gardening, just really affected by her character especially when we treated her like a sister. Anyway, she has moved out and our lives' sort of back to normal except some losses we have suffered. I had been doing a little here and there whenever necessary. I finally went back to my garden in full swing yesterday. I have been waiting for these two larger strawberries to ripen under the bare sunshine we were receiving lately. Finally my boy and I harvested them and each of us had one. So sweet having sun-ripened strawberries. The thought of it makes me drool!
I do have more strawberry flowers blooming. Such dainty flowers, so sweet and pretty as usual. One of the tasks for winter would be to divide all my strawberry clumps up. I have 8 pots to do and that's a big job! But if I dont divide the plants up, I wont get big berries next season.
My 5 Stringless Pioneer bean plants are fruiting, beaning?! These bean plants take up very little space. They dont need staking because they are dwarf and dont climb.
A plateful for lunch today.
I was extremely excited discovering a few of my fig (brown turkey) swollen and ripening two weeks ago. Since then my boy and I have eaten 3. This tree is in a large pot out of my dining window and it is in its 2nd summer. Last summer I had figs from this tree but they were dry and yukky. As this tree has a really tall and slender trunk, I chopped it down but it regrew in spring 2010. (See )This summer, with ample watering, I have managed to eat some yummy, sweet and juicy figs. There is another fig (brown turkey) in my front garden, also confined to a pot, and is having figs that are also swelling. Can't wait to eat off that tree because this one was bought from Flemings Nursery!
There were some days when it was quite cold. My water spinach (kang kong) and Thai Basil suffered some 'burns' to their leaves and I had to resort to covering them with fleece. I expect to do a lot of frost protection this coming winter and have already starting work now in early autumn, driving stakes into the ground where frost-tender plants are.
This pest is the caterpillar of the grapevine moth. I have had quite a number eating the leaves of my Carolina Black Rose. Squashing them is the only way and I had to reach the leaves by climbing the ladder. The leaves are also having mild Downy Mildew which I need to treat with fungicide again.
The grapevine is doing very well growing everywhere on my back pergola roof. I had to add new strings across to support all the new growth. Soon the leaves will turn an autumny colour before shedding. Meanwhile I am enjoying this living green frame out of my kitchen window.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today's Work.

Strawberries in the pot are growing well. One seems to be ripening but it is a little small. I mulched the two strawberry plants that are on the ground. I use sugarcane mulch as according to the staff at Bunnings, it is excellent in reflecting the sun's light and it returns carbon to the soil.
Out of the three strawberry plants I have, one has not produced flowers until yesterday. And suddenly flowers are popping out of that last plant :
My traps of oil and water was good in catching earwigs (pests). However, there are many more under pots and I had to manually remove the pots from their positions to reveal loads of earwigs scurrying away. Last night, I found an earwig trying to gnaw on one strawberry and another parked on a strawberry leaf!
The three slow growing chilli padis have put on more growth. Yippee! Hope to harvest chilli padis soon!
This morning, I trimmed much of the two smaller pots of common mint.
The large pot which I have trimmed is putting on new growth.
However, I have found lots of caterpillar poop.
Searching got me two fat caterpillars.
This pot of bay has many leaves now. I am going to wait till the leaves mature more before pruning the plant.
Same goes for this pot.
Tomato silvery fir #1 at frontyard is growing fantastic after transplanting.
Tomato silvery fir #2 is also doing great.
This rose shrub which I have spared when I pulled up the rest are producing tiny pink flowers...not too pretty by me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Long Long Entry...

Harvest a good handful of tomatoes from the bush. And several chillies (gone into dishes).
Harvested a lot of vietnamese mint from the flourishing herbs.
The little bay tree has been repotted again. I was greedy and had repotted it into a really large pot and then read that it was not good for a little plant to be in an oversized pot, just because I wanted to save some work later. So now it is in a 30cm diameter pot and still doing fantastic...showing some new leaves actually. I had harvested 3 for my chicken breast roast.
My friend Fina gave me these pears which fell off her tree prematurely during a very strong wind. I could not feed my worms since they were so hard. Blending them would be too tough, so I decided to experiment by soaking them in a pail of water and standing under the sun. Not sure what I will get in the end, probably some rotten pears soon.
Some leaves on the Cayenne Pepper are showing this - yellow spots, yellow streaks along the vein network. Not sure if it is over-fertilising, nutrient lack or? Anyway, noticed this after repotting the plant into a large pot as the one it came in was getting too small for it.
Apart from the yellowing leaves, there are quite a few chillies.
Wow! My ever-wonderful Vietnamese Mint and thai basil are doing so well. They flourish more with harvesting. I am waiting for the mint branches to lengthen before I do cuttings out of them. Harvested some thai basil for my chicken mince dish.
The mixed basil are doing fine in the pot. Hope those growing slowly will eventually grow bigger and stronger.
Yesterday's weather was milder...about 30 deg celsius and windy. I had to relocate the portable pots again against the wall to avoid the wind. That is the advantage of growing things in pots.
My lavender bee pretty has produced lots of green tender new growths but the back was not and I cut it back further. Hoping that the growth will balance out.

The largest sunflower I had was cut and placed in this vase. I gave it to my mentor today and it created a positive commotion in church. it was indeed a very large one and some of my church-mates thought it was fake!
These are some of the harvest from my little garden. From left : Rosemary, thyme, few bay leaves on the tomato, tomatoes (which did not look as good as I wished) and thai basil.
The melons are extending out a lot at the vege patch, lots of flowers. The fruits are very tiny and I have a feeling they will probably not grow. I did not provide the sufficient nutrients for fruit production and I know to have reasonable fruits, there must be some input. It's okay. I am happy enough seeing them growing and bees visiting at the vege patch.
The other pot of thai basil did not have very good leaves so I just let it flower. At least 5 stalks of flowers now. Above's one of them.
The largest tomato from the bush. Not sure why it did not turn red. It was orange and already soft. I plucked it and shared it with my golden retriever who finished his portion with one gulp. Sweet!
The caterpillar (pests) has nice colour right? Soft cute little thing. And a yellow line running down its back. Found it attacking my pak choy. Poor pak choy has been subject to various caterpillars. I found another four similar ones today and got them in a box with some of the pak choy. Going to feed them fat and use them in the spray. Heard this long-ago method works to repel caterpillars.
On the second and third day of the heat wave reaching 43 deg celsius, I relocated the smaller pots to the left side of the house where they coped better out of direct scorching sunlight. This move proved to be a wise one.
The capsicum plant - one seedling which I potted and doing well. Some of the leaves were eaten by probably a grasshopper before the potting.
A fellow blogger has two worm farms died in the heat wave. So sad!!! I was concerned and hurriedly checked my worm farm in the garage. Thankfully, they were coping fine. Found some in the collecting tray and some in the liquid! Quickly drained the liquid before any drowned. Found a dead one but just one! Fewh! I dug through the contents and were glad that they were found. All my precious ones and costly too haha...
My thai basil close-up...looking good! The successful one out of five which I grew from stem-cuttings.
"All that mankind needs for good health and healing is provided by God in nature...the challenge of Science is to find it." - Paracelcus, the father of Pharmcology, 1493 - 1541