While at the market this week, a lovely lady approached me and asked me about growing food in an apartment. While this is not the first time either Heather or I have been asked this question, this time was certainly a little different. How so you ask. This time I have a newsletter to fill and this seemed a perfect subject for this weeks installment of a newsletter. Since we are not limited much by growing space I have taken it upon myself to scour the internet in search of a great and concise answer to the question, “How can I have a garden in an apartment?”.
Tomatoes: One of the great questions of limited growing would be what to grow. Most limited resource growers want to grow tomatoes, and I think this is a great thing to start with. With only one or two plants you can have all the tomatoes you might wish to have with possibly enough left over to can a few or dry some as well. Be sure and leave your container tomato plants in a location that they will get the very most light possible during the day. Tomato plants are self pollinating (mostly) and can be pollinated with a small breeze (a small fan set on low is nice) or by gently shaking the plant several times a day. Tomatoes will grow very well in large containers. Most of my research indicates tomatoes do best in a 5 to 10 gallon container, I would argue that bigger is better as the tomato root system of a large plant can be quite large as well, or go for a smaller plant like a tiny tim or other dwarf type tomato plant. With very large tomato plants (most indeterminate types) I would recommend using a small to large trash can, and will also require a tomato cage above the soil line to hold the tomato plants shape. Tomato plants a very diverse and varying. With a little trial and error you can have fresh, home grown tomatoes throughout most of the year, even with very little location to plant in.
Potatoes: Potatoes are a good, limited resource crop in the simple fact you get a lot out of a potato and they store very well in a cool and dark location. There is a lot of information on the net about sack planting, but most of what I have found are trying to sell you something. Potatoes will grow well in large burlap sacks or large buckets or trash cans like a tomato plant. Fill the sack or bucket about half way with soil or compost and lay the seed potatoes in the soil. Several may be used. In a 5 gallon bucket plant 4 or 5. A large burlap sack could accommodate even more. Cover the seed potatoes with about 2 more inches of soil and add more for the first few weeks as the plant grows. The only real downside I can see to limit area growing of potatoes is that potatoes take a long time to mature and be ready, unless you’re just after new potatoes which are just young potatoes.
Other crops:Radishes I think merit mention just in the fact that I love radishes, and they are ready quickly. With proper soil and watering you could have a crop of radishes ready to eat in less than a month. Beans would be good as well but you should make sure to look for a bush type bean and not a vine bean. Plant 4 or 5 in a large container or several smaller containers. Leaf lettuce would be better than a head lettuce since leaf lettuce keeps giving and head lettuce is done once you pick the head. Bell Peppers do well in containers and aren’t as resource hungry as tomato plants. Herbs are also excellent to either add to your existing plantings as companion plants or in their very own containers as a small herb garden section. Also some herbs are perennials as long as they don’t get frozen. This area tends to get too cold for most herbs to survive until the next growing season, but, if they’re planted in a container they can be pulled inside for the winter.
One of our favorite suggestions is to plant container plants of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs like cilantro and basil to make your own homemade pesto and/or salsa.
All vegetables need Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and (K)Potassium, for growth, flowering, and fruiting.
When container planting, be sure you use only 1/2 as much fertilizer as recommended on your fertilizer container. Just as the roots don’t have as far to go, neither does the fertilizer and is in a more concentrated area in a container planter. Here is a nice breakdown of natural, organic fertilizers:
Fresh Worm Castings, with live worms, for some nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, but mainly to speed nutrient cycling—the breakdown of organic materials—in the potting mix.
Alfalfa Meal for early-season nitrogen, some phosphorous, and some potassium.
Feather Meal for mid- late-season nitrogen.
Greensand for potassium. Greensand also helps hold moisture in potting mixes. Manganese dioxide crystals on the grains absorb moisture, but greensand also encourages the growth of beneficial fungi in potting mixes, which increases nutrient cycling and water retention in the mix.
Oyster Shell Flour or Dried, Crushed Eggshells for calcium.
Kelp Meal for potassium and trace minerals that boost plant immunity.
We also inoculate the roots with myccorhizae, symbiotic fungi that help plants assimilate nutrients from the soil, much as gut bacteria help humans assimilate nutrients from their food.
You’ll need two containers — when the first one’s full and processing, you start filling the second one, and by the time that’s full, the compost in the first one’s ready for use and can be emptied out.
A smallish (10-20 gallons) plastic or galvanized iron garbage can with a lid will do. Drill 10 or 12 holes in the bottom with a 3/8-inch bit, find a tray to stand it in, and put a couple of 1/2-inch slats under it for aeration.
A 15x15x15-inch wooden box made of 1/2-inch ply (untreated) will also do well. So will a 20x20x20-inch box. Again, drill holes in the bottom and stand it in a tray with slats under it to allow an air supply, and put a hinged lid on it. Treat it inside and out with vegetable oil.
Use uncooked fruit and vegetables, no meat, fish, dairy, or oils — at least at first. Once you’re more experienced you can decide this for yourself.
By themselves, kitchen scraps are too wet to compost — the moisture content averages 85%, and compost should be not more than 65%. So you need dry bedding to mix it with. This can be straw, dead leaves, strips of newspaper (avoid colored inks and glossy paper), cardboard or cartons, sphagnum peat moss, coconut coir, or a mixture. You can also use some sawdust (from non-treated wood) — mix it with other bedding materials. Keep a bucket of bedding handy by your bin. Also keep a coffee-tin full of ordinary soil next to the bucket, and some wood ash is useful.
First, put a few inches of dry bedding in the bottom of the container. Scatter the daily supply of kitchen scraps on top, and cover the scraps with about the same amount of bedding, or a little more. Scatter some soil on top, and a little lime or wood ash. Keep going until it’s full. It is best to stir it up or move it about from time to time, once a week or couple of weeks to add air inside the mass.
What a fantastic year this year was at Exchange Place in Kingsport, TN. We had an amazing time there and met so many new friends. We didn’t have the entire greenhouse with us but we sure did try :). The weather turned out to be pretty good. All the rain they were calling for never really came, and we were certainly happy about that. This was our third year here and plan on many many more. We want to thank everyone that came out and made this year our best one yet.
It’s been a while since we’ve updated the public about the progress on our honeybees. Here is our update for today 7-5-2013
A.J. ventured to our farm today to check up on the bees, and do a little remodeling for them. The bees are all doing well. We have a third hive now since our last update. If I remember correct, we have one hive building on it’s 6th frame, one hive building on it’s 5th frame and the 3rd hive is building on it’s 4th frame.
Heather ventured so far as to get a little demo/how to for handling a bee frame. I was watching the whole thing from a safe distance
We had a near catastrophe from the very heavy rains of about a month ago, one of our bee hives (the 2nd one) went for a ride down a makeshift temporary river. I’m not much of a bee keeper myself but I was out there with Heather, JT and Emma at midnight that night to rescue them from the knee deep rushing water. Since then we have moved them to higher ground and a better area for us to tend to them. They seem to have recovered nicely.
So until next time, enjoy the picture gallery and short video from todays update.
We have something of an anomaly here at Summerfield Farm, wild honeybees that have lived in one of our trees for at least the last seven years. This just doesn’t seem to happen anymore. There’s probably a host of reasons but we tend to believe Monsanto and poison spraying has a lot to do with that.
Enter our wild honey bees. A few days ago we were fence clearing near our wild honeybee hive and one of us noticed a honeybee swarm nearby. Our wild honeybees had swarmed, and were sitting idly by on a tree limb waiting for us to invite them to what we hope will be their long term new home.
Heather excitedly called on a couple of our bee keeping friends and first to arrive was our bee friend Jerry. He quickly made his preparations, donned his bee keeping uniform and set out to tend the small swarm of bees on yon tree limb.
Jerry quickly moved our bee platform to it’s new location, cut the limb the bees were on, and brushed them with a broom into a basket. He then turned the basket over the bee hive box and they all dropped into place. Last but not least, he reassembled the bee box with a little sugar water house warming gift inside. Before we knew it we had a honeybee family living in one of our very own honeybee hive boxes.
We give a whole hearted thank you shout out to Jerry, for rushing by here on very short notice..
But Wait!! There’s more…..
Not only did our rare wild honeybee hive send out a small swarm, but two days later they sent out another even larger swarm. This time we were aided by our friend Alan.
Alan gets ‘er done without the full compliment of a bee keepers uniform, donning only the bonnet. In fact, at the end of it he even left off the bonnet while working the bees. He didn’t get stung not one single time. Sweet!
Pretty much the same case. Prep, build platform, set box, cut limb with the bees and place said bees into the box. Not quite as smooth as he had to rinse and repeat the moving to the box part a few times, but we won’t hold that against him. Come on, shorts and short sleeves here LOL. All in all, a job well done from our Bee keeper Alan. Another big thank you from us to Alan for coming and helping us out.
May we reach many many more honeybee hives here at Summerfield Farm, where the honeybee IS on our logo afterall.
I’m including the rest of the pictures we took from this whole process that I didn’t use in the above article as well as a short clip video of Alan.
Bee Keeper Jerry:
Bee Keeper Alan:
Bee keeper Alan on video: (and for the record, yes she was in there)
We feel it’s time for the shadecloth, And the difference it makes is astounding. Before we put the shadecloth up the fans would routinely be fighting to keep it in the lower 90’s inside this thing. We would water the plants, and by the time we finished watering some of the first plants watered would be starting to dry again. All this with both large exhaust fans running and both drop curtains dropped. I’m a rather hot natured fellow myself and I can tell you I didn’t cotton to being inside our own greenhouse. I could only imagine if the power had gone out, every plant in there would have fried.
And now, shadecloth! The different is truly amazing. Where the fans ran nearly all day now they don’t run nearly all day. The temperatures went from averaging in the 90’s to averaging high 70’s to lower 80’s, very close to the same temperature as the outside ambient temperatures. Some plants go all day with their soil still moist the next morning. When you walk in there it’s just like walking into a tree limb tunnel, very cooling and soothing (for me anyway).
So, if you have a greenhouse, and it’s getting just too warm no matter how many windows, doors, and/or curtains might be open, and/or how many fans might be running, I highly recommend you invest in some shadecloth for it, the difference is night and shady day.
Well, once again we have a frost advisory for our area. We are nearing the end of April and we just can’t seem to kick the winter weather away. We have lots of varieties of tomatoes and beans in the fields, as well as other crops too but we will just focus on the tomatoes and beans for this article.
So what do you do when the weather man says you have a frost advisory but your plants are in the ground and happy up to this point? Well, I have made a list of things to do and or consider when it’s up to you whether your happy plants continue to be happy, or whither away.
Cover your plants: We all hear this one as a primary suggestion by everyone from the weather man down to your co-worker.Plastic can be used to protect plants from frost, but it’s not the best or most effective material, and some expert gardeners warn against it. Plastic or vinyl materials do not breathe, causing moisture to get trapped inside. If the temperature drops low enough, the increase in moisture presents a greater threat to the plants.Instead of plastic, try using natural fabrics like cotton or linen, an opened burlap bag, or newspaper, as a covering to protect plants from frost.A fabric covering will allow moisture to escape but will still protect plants from frost by preventing the freezing air from coming into direct contact with the moisture. Bed sheets work well for covering large plants and shrubs, as well as young sprouts. Newspaper can be used on low-growing foliage, but won’t stay on top of larger plants well.In a pinch, you can use plastic sheets, but be sure to remove the plastic covers early in the morning to let the increasingly warmer daytime air reach the plants. If the threat of frost is prolonged and temperatures remain low during the day, be sure to use a fabric covering. When there is a threat of frost, cover your plants before sunset.
Spray with water: One of the reasons plants and fruits are damaged or killed by cold temperatures is that the cold draws essential moisture from inside the plants, effectively freeze-drying them. Spraying plants with water before a frost gives the plants the opportunity to stock up on their supply, becoming more resistant to the effects of dehydration. Spraying or misting your plants also leaves a coating of water on the outside of the plant. When this turns to ice, it can insulate the plant from the cold. The colder it gets on the surface of the leaf, the more damage is done to the plant. A coating of ice keeps the temperature on the surface of the leaf to the freezing point of water or slightly below. The plant will only need to withstand temperatures of 30 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit even if air temperatures drop further.One more food for thought on this. Another way frost kills plants is the little frost droplets act just like a miniature magnifying glass on the cells of the plants. When the first rays of the sun shine on the little magnets the sensitive little plant underneath gets cooked. Think of this as when you were a child and would cook unsuspecting ants with the sun and a magnifying glass. My parents often spray their plants after a frost has hit them in the morning but before first light. This effectively ‘washes’ the frost off the plants.
Straw, grass clippings, or dirt. If your plants are still quite small, seedlings or sprouts you could cover them with a healthy amount of straw, grass clippings, or even dirt for that matter. Basically anything that lets the frost droplets land on something other than the plant itself.
It’s really not the difficult to protect your plants from frost, It mostly depends on how many plants you have and the size of them that could help sway your decision one way or another. Here I have included pictures of our frost deterrent Yes it’s plast planting containers but it just so happens that we have A LOT of these at our disposal. The tomato covers are also covered in dirt, which will act as a little bit more insulation.
Just a reminder that we will not be at market in Johnson City this weekend. We will be at exchange place this coming weekend at the Gaines Preston Farm in Kingsport Tennessee for their 29th annual Spring Garden Fair, featuring flowers, plants, herbs, music and food. Click this link for more details and a map if you need it, http://www.mysummerfieldfarm.com/event/exchange-place/.
The Exchange Place Living History Farm will celebrate spring’s arrival next weekend with its 29th annual Spring Garden Fair, featuring flowers, plants, herbs, music and food.
The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 27 and from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 28 at the ancestral home of the Gaines and Preston families, located at 4812 Orebank Road in Kingsport.
The site will burst out of winter to offer the region a true celebration of heritage farming and heirloom gardening, with agrarian experts, plus folk and yard artisans, found everywhere on the 1850s farmstead and eager to answer all questions and share their knowledge.
Thousands of plants — natives, herbs, perennials and heirlooms — will be available for purchase, as will garden accessories and related crafts. Read more here.
We got much accomplished here this weekend. Skip and Poppy were here as well as Robert and Tyler. We also rented once more the small front-end loader/backhoe from Greene County Rentals. Lets see if I can remember everything we accomplished…
Tables taken inside and arranged
Electrical nearly completed
Drainage Ditch in place
Parking area dragged
Parking area graveled
Greenhouse shelter removed
Electrical ditch line filled
Fencing and posts removed
Trailer with heater recovered and moved
Dragged two trees for firewood
Cut and split most of said firewood
Mulch placed on paths
Mulch placed beside parking area
Side skirts working
Heater mounted and assembled
Door removed, trimmed, and replaced
Burn pile burned
That’s a ton of work in only two days. I must say it’s been a fabulous weekend and 70+ degrees in mid January was just way too much to pass up.
We expect the electrical to be completed and the heater gas connected in the next couple of days. It’s getting near crunch time and we’re starting to feel the pressure.
You can make your own organic bug spray from kitchen leftovers! Simply save your onion skins, peels and ends then refrigerate in an empty margarine-sized tub or ziplock bag until the container is full. Once you have enough, place the onion pieces in a pail and fill with warm water. Soak for a few days, up to a week. You can keep this on the patio in the sun to steep but this is optional. After one week, strain the onion bits out and store the onion water in spray bottles.
Bury the onion bits around plants that are prone to aphids, spiders and other pests. Just spray both house and garden plants with the water to fight aphids and pests. You can also mix your garlic trimmings in with the onion pieces, bugs hate garlic too!
CURE FOR WHITE/BLACK SPOT (mildew)
Add *1 litre of FULL cream milk to an *8 litre watering can, watered on Roses or mildew attracting plants, will kill white/black spot
Make the oil spray by blending two cups of vegetable oil with one cup of pure liquid soap, and mix it until it turns white.
Dilute one tablespoon of the emulsion to one litre of water and spray all affected areas thoroughly. Do this during mild weather, because if it’s hot it may burn the plant’s leaves.
Scales shoot a sweet substance called honeydew. Ants literally farm the scale to feed on the honeydew. They’ll pick them up and they’ll move them all over the tree. Honeydew also leads to sooty mould, a black dusty fungus that grows over the leaves and stems. Controlling the scale will also get rid of the sooty mould.
If you only have a small amount of scale, scrape it off with a fingernail or toothbrush. Larger infestations can be controlled by spraying with an oil to suffocate them.
To keep APHIDS and OTHER PESTS off your roses: Finely chop 1 onion and 2 medium cloves of garlic. Put ingredients into a blender with 2 cups of water and blend on high. Strain out pulp. Pour liquid into spray bottle. Spray a fine mist on rose bushes, making sure to coat both tops and bottoms of leaves.
Chop 90 grams of garlic, cover with mineral oil let soak over night, strain, add 1 litre of soapy water and store in a glass jar with a sealed lid. Dilute one part garlic to 50 parts water for use in spraying.
ALUMINUM FOIL “FOILS” APHIDS
Use an aluminum foil much around the base of plants such as tomatoes. The reflection confuses the insects and drives them away.
3 hot green peppers (canned or fresh) 2 or 3 cloves garlic 3/4 tsp liquid soap 3 cups water Puree the peppers and garlic cloves in a blender. Pour into a spray bottle and add the liquid soap and water. Let stand 24 hours. Strain out pulp and spray onto infested plants, making sure to coat both tops and bottoms of leaves.
AGAINST INSECT PESTS
1. Soapy water (NOT detergent). Try to find one based on caustic potash, rather than caustic soda and mix well with water until frothy (you’ll need more soap in hard water areas). For aphids and other soft-shelled insects
2. Oil sprays suffocate insects. Boil 1 kg soap with 8L of oil, stirring until dissolved. Dilute 1:20 with water just before use. Spray on cool days only.
3. Tomato leaf spray (very poisonous). Cover leaves with water, boil and cool. Use immediately as a general insecticide.
4. Pyrethrum spray. Pick almost-open flowers of Tanacetum cinerariifolium and dry in a cool place. Cover a few tablespoons of flowers with cheap sherry, steep overnight and mix with a litre of hot soapy water. Cool and use within a few days as a general insecticide. Store in a dark place.
5. Wormwood spray. Infuse leaves in boiling water and leave for a few hours. Dilute 1:4 and use for sap-sucking insects.
6. Chilli spray – equal volumes chilli and water blended and sprayed fresh onto caterpillars. (Prevent contact with eyes and skin.)
7. Lapsang Souchong tea – a strong brew (1 tbspn in a pot) deters possums from nipping rose tips
8. Many other materials can be used to make insect sprays. Depending on what you have available, try -quassia, garlic, marigolds, melaleuca, parsnips, turnips, eucalyptus, larkspur, elder, white cedar (Melia azaderach) or rhubarb (Please note: larkspur, elder (except for ripe berries) white cedar and rhubarb leaves are all highly toxic to humans.)
AGAINST FUNGAL DISEASES
The following plants reportedly contain antifungal or antibacterial chemicals that you can extract via infusion to spray onto crops:Chamomile, chives, sheoak (Allocasuarina), elder, eucalyptus, garlic, horseradish, hyssop, melaleuca (tea-tree), neem (Azadirachta indica), nettle (Urtica dioica), and thyme.
1. Milk spray: a 1:1 mix of milk and water reportedly controls black spot on roses and fungal diseases on other plants
2. Fresh urine (a healthy person’s urine is sterile)
3. Condy’s Crystals: 1gram/L of potassium permanganate. Use immediately.
4. Washing soda: 110g dissolved in 5.5L water. Add 56g soap and use immediately.
5. Bordeaux mixture: In a bucket completely dissolve 90g of copper sulphate in 6.5L water. In another bucket, thoroughly mix 125g brickies lime with 2.5L water and strain into first bucket. Mix well and use immediately. 6. Dusting sulphur
This is a standard organic fungicide used to treat a wide range of rots, mildews, and blights. Mix 90g of copper sulphate (bluestone) with 4.5 litres of hot water in a non metallic container and leave overnight. Next day mix 125g slaked lime with 4.5 litres of cold water in a non metallic container. Combine both mixtures by stirring vigorously. Use immediately. An oil like Codacide can be added to increase its effectiveness. Bordeaux spray may clog nozzles. Also, if over-used, it may lead to a build up of copper in the soil and associated toxicity.
OTHER PEST CONTROL HINTS
1. Use companion plants that mask the scent or appearance of desirable crops. Many highly aromatic plants contain chemicals designed to make them unattractive to pests. Camphor, mints, scented pelargoniums, wormwood, southernwood, lavender, balm of Gilead, rosemary, sage and many other herbs have spicy/bitter scents rather than sweet ones. When actively growing amongst desirable crops, these herbs can confuse pest insects by masking attractive scents.
2. Use companion plants that act as trap, sacrifice or indicator crops. Some plants, including nasturtium, mustard and Chinese cabbage, can be used as decoys so that pests attack them rather than your crop. Roses planted along the edges of vineyards deter human predators but also provide early warning of mildew disease!3. Use Physical Pest ControlsThe good ol’ “see ’em and squash ’em” technique still works a treat for snails and slugs. Attract them with beer in a jar sunk into the ground, or lay a wooden plank a centimetre above the ground – they’ll shelter underneath it and you can squash them in the morning. Yellow boards painted with sticky oil will attract aphids. Control ants to reduce aphid and scale infestations on trees – a band of grease will stop them climbing the trunk. Codling moth can also be reduced by banding trees with corrugated cardboard soaked in derris spray.
ORGANIC SPRAY. Quarter fill your spray bottle with vinegar, a teaspoon each of molasses (melt down in a cup of hot water) and liquid soap, top up with tap water.
Collect by hand the nuisance pest, bug, grub or snail from your garden. Place the bug(s) into a blender, cover with fresh water and switch on. DON’T FORGET THE LID. Then strain, dilute 1 part to 20 parts of water into a spray bottle. Spray the juice on the underside of the leaves as well as on top.
Milk is effective against a range of mildews on peas, pumpkins and cucumber leaves. Use equal parts milk and water and spray every couple of days until the mildew is under control. If the mildew is out of control remove the affected leaves to avoid the mildew from spreading and do not water at night, try watering in the mornings.
Molasses is a good deterrent sticky spray, ideal for cabbage moths and grubs on the Brassicas. Blend 1 tablespoon of molasses with 1 litre of hot water until the colour of weak tea, then mix in one tea spoon of detergent, which will help the molasses to stick to the leaves, spray top and under side of the leaves. You could also add vinegar to this brew to make it more potent.
For cabbage moths and grubs on the Brassicas. Blend 1/4 vinegar with 3/4 of water, then mix in one tea spoon of detergent, which will help the vinegar to stick to the grubs, bugs and leaves of the plant, spray top and under side of the leaves. You can also add molasses to this brew.
1 table spoon of dishwashing detergent & 1 cup of vegetable oil. Mix together and store in an air tight bottle. When required add 1 to 2 ½ tea spoons of brew to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle, spray on plants covering all leaf and stem surfaces.
Is a mild fungicide. Pour boiling water over a chamomile tea bag, leave to steep for ten minutes, when cool use as a spray.
(Harmless to animals and humans) Two heaped tablespoon pyrethrum flowers, stand in one litre of hot soapy water for one hour, strain and use (the soap will help the spray to stick on the plants). Do not inhale the fumes as they are toxic.
Blend fresh chillies in water, add pure soap, strain and spray. Acts as a stomach poison and can be used against caterpillars. Spray along ant trails or kitchen shelves as an ant repellent. Used by beekeepers to keep ants from hives.
Cover leaves in boiling water, infuse several hours. Dilute 1 part brew 4 parts water, use as a spray. It has very pungent qualities which makes it useful against soft bodied insects. Good aphid and fly spray. General repellent for fleas, flies, housemoth, ants and snakes.
A spray made from rhubarb leaves is harmless to bees and breaks down quickly, but it is harmful to humans, so be sure to keep it out of the reach of children. Boil 1 kilogram of leaves in 3 litres of water for half an hour, strain, add some soap. Dilute with equal parts of water before spraying.
Spray recipe Mix 1 tbsp of liquid soap with 1 cup of vegetable oil. Dilute as required using 1-2.5 tsp of the mixture to 1 cup of water.Oil sprays can cause burning when applied to sensitive plants. If in doubt, test a plant sample first and wait 2-3 days to see if burning results. Oil sprays can also cause burning if applied when shade temperatures exceed 29 degrees celcius or when applied within 4 weeks of a sulfur spray such as wettable sulfur or lime sulfur.
INSECTICIDAL POTASSIUM SOAP
Insecticidal potassium soap has a high salt content which when sprayed on susceptible insects desiccates and kills them. Being a contact insecticide, the target insect must come into direct contact with the spray, so good coverage is essential for optimum results. Susceptible insects include aphids, mealybug, some mite species, thrip and whitefly. Potassium based soap products available on the home garden market include, ‘Moeco Neemtech’, ‘Yates Green Earth aphid-mite spray’, ‘Multicrop BugGuard’ and ‘Spraytech or Yates Naturasoap’.
Pure soap when mixed with water can be used as a natural insecticide for the control of some sap-sucking insect pests, including aphids and mealy bugs. It is a contact insecticide and works by breaking down the insect’s exoskeleton, causing it to dehydrate and die.
Sulfur is registered as a protectant and erradicant fungicide for the control of powdery mildew on vegetables and ornamentals, rust on vegetables and various fungal diseases on stonefruit. Sulfur is also registered as an insecticide, for the control of mites on vegetables and ornamentals, grape leaf rust mite and grape leaf blister mite on grapes and white louse scale, citrus rust mite and citrus bud mite on citrus. Sulfur should not be applied 21 days before or after an oil spray, in combination with an oil spray or when temperatures are expected to exceed 25 degrees celcius. Sulfur can be purchased as ‘Sulfur spray’, ‘Dusting sulfur’, ‘Powdered sulfur’ or ‘Wettable sulfur’ and can be found in various other products in combination with ‘mancozeb’, ‘copper oxychloride’, ‘rotenone’ and ‘carbaryl’.
Lime sulfur is registered to control powdery mildew on ornamentals and various diseases on stonefruit and apples. It is also registered as an insecticide for the control of some scale and mite species on various fruit trees, ornamentals and tomatoes.Lime sulfur should not be applied when the air temperature is over 32 degrees celsius, after a copper spray in the same season or within 2 weeks of an oil spray.
CONDIES CRYSTALS (potassium permanganate)
Condies crystals can be mixed with water and sprayed onto plant foliage to control powdery mildew. They may also be useful as a contact spray for the control of aphids and slugs.Condies crystal spray recipe Mix 30g of condies crystals, 9L of warm water and 30 ml of petroleum oil. Spray undiluted.
MOLASSES Molasses spray can be used as a feeding deterrent for chewing insects such as caterpillars and grasshoppers.Molasses spray recipe Mix 1 tbsp of molasses and 5 g of pure soap flakes in 1 L of water. Apply undiluted as required.Molasses applied to soil infested with nematodes may reduce root galling and nematode reproduction. Molasses soil treatmentApply 38 ml of molasses per litre of water per square metre of soil per week.
MILK Spraying equal parts full cream milk and water every 2 days may help control the fungal disease powdery mildew. Powdery mildew can be a problem in pea, tomato, capsicum and cucurbit crops.
VINEGAR Vinegar spray may be useful in controlling caterpillars and sap-sucking insects such as stink bugs, aphids, and mealybugs. Vinegar spray recipe Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and add 5 g of pure soap flakes.
CHILLI SPRAY FOR APHIDS ON ROSES
5 garlic cloves 3 hot chillies 2 litres of boiling water Steep overnight. Use in all garden sprayers.
general pest deterrent 10 garlic cloves 5 small hot chillies 3 medium onions 1 litre of water
Mix all ingredients together, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.Let stand overnight then add 2 tbsp. of milk. Store in labelled glass jars.Use by diluting 1 cup of the mixture to 9 litres of water. Use in all garden sprayers.
TO ERADICATE MILLIPEDES OR EARWIGS.
10 ml Eucalyptus Oil 10 ml Biodegradable Hair Shampoo 80 ml water Mix all ingredients together and spray around on the ground at night.
300 grams of Quassia Chips, (Surinam Tree:- wood, bark or root of this and other trees yielding bitter medicinal decoction) to 1 litre of water.
Boil chips for 5 minutes. Strain and collect water mixture. Spray on ground when cool.
Many small insects, especially thrips and aphids, can be suffocated by being sprayed with a weak solution of water soluble glue. Fine clay mixed with water has a similar effect but tends to clog spray nozzles.
Boil 500g of lantana leaves in 1 litre of water- for 20 minutes. Cool and strain. Spray liberally on affected plants. Most effective against aphids. A stronger spray can he made by substituting wormwood for lantana.
Please note : All Natural sprays can be dangerous, so LABEL well, and keep out of reach of children. Also overuse of deterants can jepordise the natural balance, so use sprays of any sort, sparingly