In Fear of Fruitfly

Netting for fruitfly

Its fruit fly time again! In order to have a successful harvest of fruit and vegetables gardeners must be smart about managing fruit fly. Understanding the fruit fly life cycle is an important part of implementing plans to stop this pesky fly from spoiling your produce. Many people speak say once they have experienced fruit fly they tend to give up and choose not to grow their own fruit and vegetables; this is such a crying shame. I say “don’t let the fly win.” The benefits of growing your own food by far out way the extra effort it takes to put some strategies in place and stop fruit fly infestation.
August is the time when the Male fruit fly becomes active searching for his mate. The female fruit fly usually emerges about September as the ground begins to warm up. This is our opportunity to separate these little devils and stop them from mating and laying maggots in our produce. Bait for the male in august and try and trap as many as you can. I use a homemade solution but there are many commercial products you can use also, just depends on your personal preference and budget.
Hang your baits in trees around your vege garden. Talk to your neighbours and get them to bait too, building a powerful force field. Replace the bait every three weeks. If the containers start to smell like dead flies the male fruit fly is not going to find is so attractive to enter. The warmer months will find the contents evaporating in the heat top up regularly and keep them going until April. Set up your female traps in September keeping them fresh and topped up. The female is attracted to a yeasty smell. I buy a product called Eco Naturelure and I only need a tsp of product dissolved in some water. By this stage your backyard will be looking like a hangout for plastic containers but it will be worth it. Netting individual plants or particular garden beds which contain highly susceptible varieties such as tomatoes, capsicums and eggplants Is a great idea. I also plant Basil as a companion plant as it’s a really good natural insecticide for repelling fruit fly. At the end of the season I just make lots of Basil pesto and I just love having fresh basil to cook with all season long. Fruit fly control is not just one thing it’s doing a combination of things to stop the cycle.
The dwarf fruit tree industry has many varieties of trees for the residential backyard which still produce full size fruit but only grow up to 2m high. These small trees are very easy to manage and net against fruit fly and promotes people to grow quantities of fruit they can consume without waste or having temptation lying around on the ground. Always pick up excess fruit from the ground and if you suspect fruit fly, bag it and leave lying in the sun before you bin it.


The power of leafy greens!


Last year (2012) I was touched with cervical cancer. It was a physically and mentally draining journey that has left me questioning many things in my life. The two most useful things I have armed myself with to go into battle have served me well as I have been told I will live to fight another day. The two things I speak about are surrounding oneself with positive people and good organic nutrition. What we put into our body and soul plays an inaugural part in our health and wellbeing. I had an endless supply of support and love from family and friends and I focused on getting healthy in the physical sense and the mental clarity department. Gardening was my food for the soul. I spent time in the fresh air, hands in the dirt re-connecting with the earth and working on bringing the garden to the plate. I try very hard to eat fresh, eat local and eat in season. Much of this is so easily achieved in the humble backyard. The vegetable garden is a place to create and harvest and it’s simply amazing what you can achieve in a very small space.
Leafy greens are our saving grace and so many of these plants are the keys to fighting cancer, building the immune system and make us feel strong. My number one favourite plant is Kale botanically known as Brassica oleracea. Kale is high in iron, vitamin K, A, C and a powerful antioxidant.
This useful leafy green can be cooked in stir-fries, eaten fresh in salads and added to delicious juices and smoothies. Known as the ‘Queen of greens’, Kale should star in your leafy green vegetable plot. It’s dead easy to grow. The foliage can be green or purple and is planted in spring, mine is still growing now in winter and we have been eating it for two seasons. Kale seeds readily, always giving you fresh seedlings to re-plant or keep a plot going. Kale can be companion planted with baby spinach, silver beet, swiss chard, any of the lettuce varieties and Asian greens such as bok choy and choy sum. The complete salad bar and stirfry plot in one! Leafy green vegetables are hungry nitrogen feeders. Nitrogen provides the plant with the ability to produce prolific green foliage and new growth. Nitrogen can be found in chook manure, cow manure and rich composted soil. If you don’t have access to a chook yard or cows running around, products straight off the nursery shelf such as rooster booster, dynamic lifter and packaged cow manure can be purchased. I enjoy an afternoon walk collecting cow pats then bring them home to make ‘Cow Poo water’. Just place a bucket of cow pats in a hessian bag and put into a barrel of water. They slowly make this marvellous nitrogen based liquid fertiliser that is easily applied to all of my vegetable garden and other plants that need a good dose of nitrogen.

The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition. Quote: Thomas Edison

Wattle Fever

Wattle in flower 008The wattles around town are in full bloom displaying masses of fluffy golden ,fragrant flowers . Much to the horror of hayfever and allergy sufferers
many of us find the wattles a welcome sign to the beginning of spring. It’s not too late to get one planted now for next years display and there are many varities to choose from.
Wattles belong to the Fabaceae family because they have a distinct characteristic and that is there seed pods. This family is commly called the pea family as they all have seeds inclosed in pods. There are 900 species in the Genus Acacia and they really are a stand out plant for Australias diverse conditions found in habitats from our rainforests to our most arid regions.
Wattles are a wonderful Australian native that really is quite famous in its own right. The Golden wattle Acacia pycanthra is Australias floral emblem. Even the queen is very fond of our wattle when she wonts to think of Australia she wears a Golden wattle brooch and her 1954 coronation dress was embroidied with the Golden wattle along with all the those other flowers of the commonwealth.
May gibbs has used wattle trees and gum nut babies in many of her stories. Her delighful characters are apart of many childrens early litracy years feuling there imagination with Aussie flora and australian wildlife. We are famous for our Australian bush world wide.
This Australian icon is one tough plant and the nursery industry has developed many varieteies for us to choose from. Available now is even a variety that has no flower but has become extremly popular in our landscaping for its soft weeping foliage and hardiness . The Acacia cognata is a small shrub getting no more than 50cm in height . Acacia ‘Limelight’ is a tall upright specimen once again with no flowers but has such lovely soft lime green weeping foliage and is a beautiful soft addition to any garden .
Acacia ‘Limelight’ will reach up to 2-3 metres and is a great screening idea and so fast to establish itself. Fast growing is what has made Australian natives popular.They are evergreen too so you can enjoy you’re Acacias all year round.
Pest and Disease issues
Something you may notice at this time of the year is the activity of a certain pest called the Wattle tick scale or Cryptes baccatus.
I found a fantastic display of this infestation in a friends garden. This scale is huge usually 5-10mm in length. The grey to white hard shells looks like balls one after another in groups of up to 50. They spend there life in these protective hard shells which makes them difficult to eradicate while they
suck the goodness from your wattle. While they are busy doing this ants will come and herd them up and down the wattle stealing the sugery secretions. Applying some pest oil will smother the scale insect and the ants will disappear too when the suger stops from there productivity.