Real World Gardener Ants on Plants in Plant Doctor

May 20th, 2021

 PLANT DOCTOR

Ants on Plants

Ants in the house are a problem because they turn up in your pantry, in your cat and dog food that you’ve put out, or just hang around the kitchen bench.
Sometimes they’re in places like the bathroom, leaving you wondering what on earth are they doing there?
Ants in the garden are another matter, however, it's pretty common to see ants running up and down on your plants, and one or two shouldn't be a cause for concern.

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It's when the ants are present on your tree or shrub in large numbers that you should start to worry because they can signal other pest problems occurring on your tree, shrub or even seedlings.

Why Are Ants On Your plants in the First Place?

  • Whitefly, aphids, mites are all sap suckers.
  • It’s not just the presence of scale pests that ants are attracted to. These are all sap suckers and produce honey dew which ants like to farm. 
  • Juvenile scale which is the crawler stage, are very small and you may not notice them, although the ants will know that they are there.
aphids-farmed%2Bby%2Bants.jpg
Ants farming aphids

  • Sometimes it’s just the sweet nectar of the flowers that bring in the ants.
  • Ants can live in your containerised plants if the potting mix has become very dry or hydrophobic. The dry soil becomes a perfect medium for the ants to build a home in.
  • Watch to see what the ants are doing-going to the flowers only or running all over the plants.

Solution:

Horticultural or Neem oils can be sprayed to smother the aphids and controlling mealybug. Spring is the best time to control spray for scale, but you can still spray in summer. 
 

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgtarden.com.au

If you have any questions about ants on plants, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener La Niña and Changing Weather in the Kitchen Garden

March 20th, 2021

 THE KITCHEN GARDEN

La Niña and your produce garden

Torrential rain is lashing the east coast of Australia as a write this while the west coast of enjoys a hot spell. Without sounding too dramatic, we’re starting off the kitchen garden segment with a topic about how the changing weather patterns are affecting the vegetable garden. At the moment Australia is in the grip of La Niña, a complex weather pattern, that bought rain for much of summer and now is causing flooding in many areas.
Last year's summer was quite different with bushfires in most parts of Australia.

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Torrential rain driven by La Niña in my garden.

We’re not so much spruiking climate change, but really it’s more about what you the gardener can do to mitigate problems in the veggie patch because of climate events like La Niña.

This summer, the produce garden is seeing cooler temperatures during the day, increased humidity, and higher night temperatures because of the consistent cloud cover.

For those gardeners on clay soil, the soil is staying damp even during the drier periods. Veggies do not like their roots in constant water.

For those gardeners who haven't prepared their gardens for these events, they may find collar rot around citrus and other fungal problems in the kitchen garden.

The answer for clay soil in produce gardens is build raised beds. Not only does this improve drainage, but saves all that bending to ground level.

Powdery mildew is a problem with all gardens in humid weather, particularly when the crops are coming to their end of their production.

Toni recommends using a bi-carbonate spray to change the pH of the leaf surface so that the fungus cannot thrive. This is only a preventative measure. Once the mildew takes hold.

Bicarb soda recipe:
1/2 teaspoon of sodium bi-carbonate
450ml water
couple of drops of vegetable oil to help emulsify it.

Spray both leaf surfaces well until run-off. Re-apply after rain.

Other problems can be fruit not ripening such as tomatoes staying green because of the lack of sunny days.

Dwarf beans are all descended from climbing beans when they perceive low light levels they will begin throwing out tendrils and revert to climbing beans. This can be just a run of cloudy days or overshadowing by trees or a neighbouring building.

Let’s find out-I'm talking with Toni Salter, the Veggie Lady. www.theveggielady.com 

Real World Gardener Help with seedlings in Plant Doctor

February 26th, 2021

 PLANT DOCTOR    

What's Going On With My Seedlings?

People have been turning to gardening in droves this year, and for one reason or another, they’re into growing their own food.
A lot of new gardeners, though, are finding it difficult to either get those seeds to germinate, or keep those seedlings going.seedling.jpg

Here are some of the common problems:

  • Seeds germinate and grow for a while then die. Number 1 culprit is drying out.
    • Seedlings are for the most part growing in a shallow soil and all it takes is for a bit of warm weather, then unless you're there on the spot to water them, they shrivel up and die.
  • Seedlings growing in moist soil because you've somehow managed to keep them hydrated. If they keel over at this point, it's due to 'damping off.' The seedlings is attacked by fungal or bacterial infection, the end result of which is death of your seedlings.
  • Overwatering and poor airflow is another possibility.
  • Seaweed solution may help with overcoming this problem.
  • Watering with a tea with strong antimicrobial properties, such as strong chamomile or cinnamon tea may work as a preventative. 
  • Create a clean environment as possible by (a)sterilising your soil by placing it in the oven for 30 minutes at high temperatures and (b) wipe down pots and benches with a 10% solution of bleach. 
  • Seedlings just sitting with no growth for weeks are a sign of insufficient fertiliser. Water in a liquid fertiliser immediately and follow up as per dosage instructions. 
  • Although, one thing to watch out for:The seeds have germinated but mysteriously, the tops get chewed off. 
    I’m still wondering how the slug go into the closed mini-greenhouse and ate my basil seedlings.
Hopefully you’ll be inspired to get back into growing from seed and have all the information you need to get those seedlings going.

 So what help do they need? Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.
I’m talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

If you have any questions about seedlings, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener NEW Citrus Watch on Plant Doctor

October 18th, 2019

PLANT DOCTOR

NEW Citrus Watch

Citrus trees have their fair share of pests of diseases and control is better if it’s done proactively.

Certain times of the year are crucial in beginning your control program, but don’t worry, it’s not too daunting.

oranges-healthy%2Btree.jpg

 

Let’s find out what needs doing

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

There are several types of pests

Sap Sucking Pests: control with botanical oils such as eco Oil

  • mites, 

    lemons%2Bwith%2Bfruit%2Bfly%2Bhole.jpg

    Fruit flies sting the fruit leaving a telltale black spot on the outside.

  • aphids,
  • scale, 
  • bronze orange bug- need to control at green nymph stage when the bugs measure only a few millimetres. Once they start to colour up, oils will not control them. 
  • neem oil is registered for control of bronze-orange bugs on ornamental citrus.

Chewing Pests; caterpillars: control with Dipel

Queensland fruitfly: control with pheremone lures, spinosad based pesticides and/or exclusion netting.

Mediterranean fruitfly (found in W.A.) control with spinosad based pesticide and/or exclusion netting.

Timing is the key for pests and diseases because they have a lifecycle which tells us when the pest is most vulnerable or when the diseases is most likely to strike.

This is a good indicator of when control is most effective.

After all, you don’t want to waste your time, energy and money using a product that won’t work as well as it should because it’s the wrong timing.

If you have any questions for me or for Steve, why not write in to Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Indoor Plant Pests in Design Elements

September 26th, 2019

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Indoor Plant Pests Under Control

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about what plants you can grow indoors wherever you live in Australia.

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Quite a few in fact can cope with all weather conditions for the far north of Australia to Tasmania.

Despite all your loving attention though, some plants can be susceptible to pest attack, or just like plain unhealthy, making you think you did something wrong.

Not necessarily true, so let’s find out about looking after indoor plants

That was Julia Levitt Director of www.sticksandstonesld.com.au

PLAY: Indoor plants-pests_2nd August 2017

Even the best plant owner will come across pests.

The trick is to keep an eye on your plants and act quickly as soon as you see something wrong with your indoor plant.

Why are we having plants indoors again?

Apart from plants reducing carbon dioxide levels in your home, did you know that people with plants in their homes have less stress, and plants have been known to contribute to lower blood pressure?

If you have any questions about indoor plant pests why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com

 

Real World Gardener Grow Your Plants part 2 in Design Elements

August 8th, 2019

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Grow Your Plants part 2: series final

Last week it was when and how much to water your plants to keep them alive, and today it’s about plant health problems.

We start off with finding out why the plant isn’t thriving and in fact is dropping leaves.

Sound familiar?

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Gardens like this one need care and maintenance.

Let’s find out what needs doing.

I'm talking with Glenice Buck of Glenice Buck Designs. www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au

Not so much digging now, other than weeding but looking after your plant because, after all, it’s not plastic.

So why are the leaves dropping off?

Causes: 

  • Check your watering. You might think the water is getting through to the roots but is it really? Add wetting agent if you find the the soil is not being wetted sufficiently.
  • Nutrient deficiency-are the yellow leaves the new growth or the old growth?
    • new leaves yellowing signals possible iron deficiency. Correct with chelated iron.
    • Old leaves yellowing signals possible nitrogen deficiency. Correct with an all purpose liquid or soluble fertiliser.
    • Calcium deficiency results in distorted or irregularly shaped new leaves (top of plant). The leaf margins and tips become necrotic. Correct with an application of Dolomite.
  • Wind can cause physical damage, with leaves have brown/grey tips.

    1-Leaf%2BScorch3.JPG

    Wind and sun scorch have similar symptoms.

Watering, fertilising and looking out for pest and disease issues are all part of gardening.

For all the latest news - Follow Glenice on Facebook or Instagram

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Or check out my website: www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au

Or Subscribe to my monthly Garden Greetings Newsletter: www.tinyletter.com/glenicebuckdesigns

Real World Gardener Taking Care of Brassicas on the Good Earth

May 30th, 2019

THE GOOD EARTH

Caring For Brassicas

Brassicas are a large family of plants which include not just white cauliflowers and green broccoli, but all manner of purple caulis, purple sprouting broccoli and purple or green cabbages just to mention a few.

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Lovely cabbages Photo: Margaret Mossakowska

There’s even a veg that’s a cross between brussel sprouts and kale, called Brukale. Whatever next?

So what’s needed to grow the best brassicas? Let’s find out more. 

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from Moss House.

LIVE: Growing Brassicas_22nd_ May 2019

TIPS: Don't overdo high nitrogen fertilisers for the heading brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflowers. That means blood 'n' bone, and chook poo pellets.

Too much nitrogen will result in smaller heads.

  • Be careful what you use to control pests on your brassicas, so that you don’t kill ladybird, hoverfly and lacewing larvae which are all beneficial insects.
  • Margaret's tip is to use upturned wire baskets that you may have seen in offices from days gone by.
  • These may be obtained from recycle stores or from the $2 shop.
  • When the cabbages or other brassicas have outgrown these baskets, you can then cover them with exclusion netting.

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Exclusion netting photo: Margaret Mossakowska www.mosshouse.com.au

If you have any questions either for me or for Margaret, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

VEGETABLE HEROES

Real World Gardener Looking After Indoor Plants in Plant Doctor

April 11th, 2019

PLANT DOCTOR

Indoor Plants: Pests, Diseases and Watering
If we were fashionable and hip young gardeners, we would all be talking about where to go to find the next happening for indoor plants.

Usually a trendy café or other venue where indoor plants are sold to the unsuspecting young folk for enormously inflated prices. 
But, if we’re not in that category, we probably would like to refresh our memory about looking after those indoor plants. 
 

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I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au 
Let’s find out 
 
New to gardening and not sure how much to water?

Leaves yellowing or browning on the tips can be under or over-watering. 
Different plants have different responses to watering so it's important to do some research about the plant.
Find out if your plant likes to be dry between waterings, such as Zee Zee plant ( Zamiocalcus spp) or Anthuriums.
Stick your finger into the potting mix to test for wetness or dryness.
If you’re averse to sticking your finger in the dirt to check how much moisture is being held in the soil, you can buy a moisture meter fairly cheaply. 
If you’re electronically inclined you can even make your own moisture meter. 
If you have any questions either for me or for Steve, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Powdery Mildew on Cucurbits in Plant Doctor

March 22nd, 2019

PLANT DOCTOR

Fungal Problems of Cucurbits: Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, Pumpkin, Watermelons and Rockmelons.

You might think that it’s only hot and humid weather that brings out this particular fungus to the fore. 

But no, not only is this fungal problem not host specific, but it can blight your plants, both edible and ornamental during a wide temperature range.

Why is that? You might ask.

Powdery%2Bmildew%2Bon%2Bcucumber%2Bleaf.

Powdery Mildew on Cucumber Leaves

Let’s find out

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

LIVE:Powdery Mildew on Cucurbits_13th March 2019

Powdery mildew is the main fungal disease affecting cucurbits. It looks like a white coating over the leaves and stems of the plants.

Powdery mildew has an effective temperature range of 10 – 30 C and can attack just about everything in the vegetable garden as well as your annual flowers or perennials such as Dahlias. 

eco-fungicide-group-LR.jpgPreventative spraying is best if you have it year after year especially as spores can germinate in some districts all year round.

There’s plenty of preventative treatments, some homemade, others commercial. 

  • Full cream milk works best in sunny weather. Bi-carbonate of soda works reasonably well.
  • Sulphur can be used but it will burn the plants on hot days and also kill off any beneficial insects.

The best solution is Potassium bi-carbonate which is sold as eco-fungicide.

 Under a microscope, potassium bi-carbonate affectively kills off the fungus in 5 minutes.

  • You may find that rotating your choice of treatment gives you the best results with this fungal problem.

If you have any questions either for me or for Steve, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Beautiful Frangipanis and Their Secrets Part 1

March 7th, 2019

All About Frangipanis Part 1

What’s new in Frangipanis?

Q. I have a leaf here that doesn’t look great? 

The green in the centre has gone white and there’s white fluffy stuff, maybe scale? What do you think?

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Mite Damage on Frangipani leaves

A: this is typical mite damage on the leaves seen an Frangipani and Camellias as well.

The treatment is Natrasoap spray to which you can also add Neem Oil.

Available from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

I'm talking with Anthony Grassi from the Frangipani Society of Australia.

Q. It’s been so hot but my Frangi’s aren’t flowering what can be done and is it too late?

 A. When Frangipani are still relatively small, often every second year is a resting year, so they don't flower. Especially if they're in a pot, flowers will be bi-annual. 

It's only when the Frangipani is a mature tree, that you see yearly flowering because they have enough leaves to carry out the photosynthesis needed for lots of flowers.

The exception is when there is a micro-climate and the plants are pampered with high potash fertilisers.

 


Frangipani Society of Australia
 are now  a FB society so you can join their FB page, but if you join as a financial member, you get to access another FB page as well as receive a lovely calendar, CD and tips on how to grow the best Frangipanis ever, plus seeds for you to grow some new varieties of Frangipanis.

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photo M. Cannon

 

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