How to Make an Earwig Bait Trap Using Oil, Water and Soy Sauce

  The European earwig (Forficula auricularia) is one of our most common earwigs found worldwide in gardens. These insects are scavengers, and they are omnivores –  they are voracious feeders on soft-bodied insects such as aphids and insect eggs, they also prey on mites, spiders, and various insects, so they do serve a role asContinue reading “How to Make an Earwig Bait Trap Using Oil, Water and Soy Sauce”

How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure

  Over the last decade, there have been increasing reports from gardeners that their vegetables and flowers have been damaged or killed after adding manure or compost to their gardens, or when they’ve planted into new soil they had delivered. In fact, the problems of contaminated composts adversely affecting horticultural crops first surfaced in 1999.Continue reading “How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure”

How to Control Fungus Gnats in Indoor Plants

  The annoying little flies often seen flying around indoor plants are fungus gnats. The adult flies are just a nuisance, but their larvae, which mainly eat fungi growing in decomposing organic matter (such as over-watered plant potting mix!) will also eat the roots of houseplants, and can transmit root diseases. Fungus gnats are onlyContinue reading “How to Control Fungus Gnats in Indoor Plants”

Citrus Problems – Leaves Curling Inwards Along Their Length

When leaves of a citrus tree curl evenly along their length, this is a protective response to minimises leaf surface area in order to reduce moisture loss. It indicates that the roots of the tree can’t supply enough water to support the leaves. This form of leaf curling may be due to temporary conditions, suchContinue reading “Citrus Problems – Leaves Curling Inwards Along Their Length”

Fruit Tree Problems – New Leaves Tightly Curled and Turning Yellow on Cherries and Plums

Tightly curled, yellowing, distorted, and diseased-looking young leaves at the tips of the branches on stone fruit in spring, mainly on cherry and plum trees, is a sign of damage caused by aphids.   What are Aphids? Aphids are small sap-sucking pests insects around 2-4 mm (1/16-1/8”) long, with soft, pear-shaped bodies. There are aroundContinue reading “Fruit Tree Problems – New Leaves Tightly Curled and Turning Yellow on Cherries and Plums”

How to Make Borax Ant Bait for Indoor and Outdoor Use

Ants can be a major pest in the garden because they ‘farm’ aphids and scale – they safeguard them in their nests over winter, then bring them out in spring and carry them onto the new plant growth, then collect the honeydew that aphids and scale excrete as they feed off the plant’s sap. ToContinue reading “How to Make Borax Ant Bait for Indoor and Outdoor Use”

Why Are My Cabbages Not Forming Heads?

When cabbages are first planted they initially produce lots of large broad leaves, but in the latter part of their growing season the inner leaves at the centre of the plant begin curling inwards and cupping around a short-thick stem, growing tightly together to form the head of cabbage we are all familiar with. TheContinue reading “Why Are My Cabbages Not Forming Heads?”

Companion Planting with Land Cress for Natural Caterpillar Control

Land Cress (Barbarea vulgaris) and American Upland Cress (Barbarea verna) are biennial, edible leafy-green vegetables from the Brassicaceae (cabbage) family. The young leaves, which are spicy in flavour, are often used as a substitute for watercress in dishes, and can be cooked, or used fresh in salads and sandwiches. They’re nutritious leaf vegetables that containContinue reading “Companion Planting with Land Cress for Natural Caterpillar Control”

What Are the Small Flies in Compost Bins and Are They a Problem?

  Many gardeners are familiar with the experience of  lifting the lid off a compost bin and seeing a cloud of small flies rise into the air in front of them. These little flies are vinegar flies or drosophila, and the reason why they’re found in the compost bin or worm farm is because theyContinue reading “What Are the Small Flies in Compost Bins and Are They a Problem?”

Are Woody Galls on Citrus Tree Trunks Harmful?

  Citrus vein enation (CVEV), also known as woody gall, is a viral disease which affects various lemon and lime trees and citrus rootstocks. This disease is caused by the CVE virus, a luteovirus which is transmitted by aphids, including the black citrus aphid (Toxoptera citricidus), cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii), and green peach aphid (MyzusContinue reading “Are Woody Galls on Citrus Tree Trunks Harmful?”

Tomato Lower Leaves Yellowing and Dropping with Leaf Loss Moving Upwards

Tomatoes grow well during warmer weather, and that is expected since they are subtropical plants native to western South America and Central America. In cool to temperate climates tomatoes are grown as annuals, since they start to decline as temperatures drop in late autumn to early winter. Often in mid to late summer, even ifContinue reading “Tomato Lower Leaves Yellowing and Dropping with Leaf Loss Moving Upwards”

Plant Diseases – White or Tan Spots on Brassica Leaves

White leaf spot is a fungal disease of cruciferous vegetables (brassicas) caused by the pathogen Mycosphaerella capsellae, which is also known as Pseudocercosporella capsellae. The distribution of this disease pathogen is worldwide, it can be found in many countries with temperate climates, where brassicas are grown. The image above shows a pak choi (Chinese cabbage)Continue reading “Plant Diseases – White or Tan Spots on Brassica Leaves”

Citrus Problems – Citrus Fruit Has Thick Peel and Hollow Core

Nutrient imbalances and deficiencies can adversely affect the quality of citrus fruit. Excess nitrogen combined with low phosphorus will cause citrus fruit to be misshapen, with thick peel, a coarse and roughly textured rind, coarse pulpy flesh without much juice, and an open centre. The juice will also be more acid in these fruit.  Continue reading “Citrus Problems – Citrus Fruit Has Thick Peel and Hollow Core”

Why Is My Aloe Vera Plant Turning Yellow and Brown?

Aloe vera is a hardy, succulent, semi-tropical plant native to North Africa and the SW Arabian Peninsula, which can tolerate quite harsh conditions. It will grow in poor soils in hot, dry sunny  locations with very little water, but can also tolerate dappled sun or part shade, which allows it to be grown successfully asContinue reading “Why Is My Aloe Vera Plant Turning Yellow and Brown?”

How to Control Queensland Fruit Fly in the Home Garden, An Integrated Pest Management Approach

(Image credit – source image from NSW Department of Primary Industries, modified and edited by Deep Green Permaculture) Queensland fruit fly or Qfly (Bactrocera tryoni) is one of the most damaging pests of fruit and vegetables in Australia. This insect is native to eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales, but has extended its rangeContinue reading “How to Control Queensland Fruit Fly in the Home Garden, An Integrated Pest Management Approach”

Winter Pest and Disease Control with Lime Sulphur

Winter is the traditional time to prune and spray deciduous fruit trees and vines. Spraying is carried out at this time to eliminate pests and diseases which can overwinter and emerge in spring. Two separate treatments are usually employed in winter. Oil sprays are often used to control overwintering pest insects, and fungicides are usedContinue reading “Winter Pest and Disease Control with Lime Sulphur”

What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

The problem of garden pest control is as old as agriculture itself, which started when humanity first cultivated plants for food more than ten thousand years ago. Modern conventional pest control methods often use chemical controls as the first option, and usually ignore the real causes of pest problems. They rely on routine, scheduled pesticideContinue reading “What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)”

Citrus Problems – Why Citrus Fruit Drops and Flowers Fail to Develop

Is your citrus tree dropping its fruit before they reach full size, or even worse, dropping the flowers before fruit even begin to form? Trees photosynthesise to produce carbohydrates such as sugars which they store as their energy source. They can only store a finite amount, which they use to drive the growth of newContinue reading “Citrus Problems – Why Citrus Fruit Drops and Flowers Fail to Develop”

Apple Tree Problems – Sun Scald

Sun scald is not a disease, but damage caused to apples and many other fruit, caused by high temperatures and strong sunlight in summer. Typically, sun scald damage appear on sun-exposed side, which is usually towards the direction of the midday to afternoon sun. The cells die in the sunburnt area, forming an irregularly shapedContinue reading “Apple Tree Problems – Sun Scald”

Citrus Nutrient Deficiency – Yellow Leaves

If leaves are yellowing on a citrus tree, it may be a sign of nutrient deficiency, but it may not be, depending on which leaves are yellowing. Older leaves yellowing are quite normal as long as it’s only happening to a very small number of the very oldest leaves. Evergreen trees such as citrus willContinue reading “Citrus Nutrient Deficiency – Yellow Leaves”