Organic gardener seeking advice and exchange of info & ideas with same

Discussion in 'Plant Pests, Diseases and Weeds' started by vitrsna, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. vitrsna

    vitrsna Seedling

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    Thanks for the tip about the iron capsules, toni:like:
     
  2. Dinu

    Dinu Seedling

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    I have also heard that a decoction prepared from seeds of Custard Apple are good as insecticide.
     
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  3. vitrsna

    vitrsna Seedling

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    Thank you Dinu, i am not familiar with Custard Apple but i will look into it. I know also that Neem is a natural and popular solution to many garden problems and i have access to tons of Neem leaves because they just pruned all the trees in the park one block away. Neem oil, however, will also kill caterpillars so i wouldn't be able to use it on a host plant leaves. Host plants can be tricky that way because even some of the best organics can be lethal to caterpillars. I appreciate your input...now i'm going to look up Custard Apple. It this something that you grow? hmmm, i wonder if dried Neem leaves scatterred at the base of a plant would be an effective deterrent? I don't think the leaves would harm the caterpillars because it wouldn't be ingested by them. You know what picky eaters they are.:rolleyes:
     
  4. purpleinopp

    purpleinopp Young Pine Plants Contributor

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    TY, Vitrsna! Since the butterflies aren't around during winter, busy hibernating or whatever it is they do, I don't feel any motivation to try to find an evergreen vine, just whichever ones are native to this area. Hopefully mother nature wakes up the vines to get growing before the caterpillars need to eat them.

    When one is growing plants to host butterfly caterpillars, it is possible for the entire plant to be eaten, at least all of the leaves. Hopefully a native critter eating a native plant will happen as nature intended, without any other problems, and is healthy enough to keep growing new leaves (if perennial.) But if a plant does become ill, that's part of nature too. I would find another plant for that spot the next year. If the only reason I'm growing a plant is to be food for butterfly caterpillars, any treatment that might kill them or make them ill would be unacceptable to me, and defeat the purpose of having that plant.

    By only having plants that grow well without anything from a package, I still don't have room for all of the ones I would want from that category. If others choose a different route, that's their prerogative, and I respect that, while continuing to try to explain why I think home gardeners would be much happier and satisfied without the use of packaged concoctions, with which any particular person might or might not agree. Maintenance consisting of ongoing applications of anything that causes some kind of harm, or trying to control nature beyond providing a habitat for critters that's also pleasing for human aesthetics isn't something I believe in. Though I'm passionate about and enjoy discussing these things, gardening decisions for others are not mine to make, and I'm not in their situation, only mine. One of the things I think everyone loves about gardening is that each gardener gets to decide how it will be done.

    I've never had an in-ground plant with any kind of deficiency except in the first year of gardening a spot newly reclaimed from grass. Keeping the ground covered with organic matter transforms the soil from being lifeless and infertile to being full of life and fertility.

    Dr. Ingram speaks much more eloquently and interestingly about that than I can:
    http://permaculturenews.org/2013/09/20/soil-not-dirt-dr-elaine-ingham-talks-soil-microbiology/

    That's good to hear, Toni, TY. :+) I'm sure you've got a much better handle on the users here overall. I only visit the forums that relate to the kinds of plants I have. The only growing I do is personal, for our enjoyment & that of the critters who visit, so there's no pressure that a business might have to keep plants alive.
     
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  5. vitrsna

    vitrsna Seedling

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    I hear you purple...the fundamental purpose of my garden is to provide natural habitat (albeit in a small way) lost due to never-ending construction etc. and although my garden will never appear in "beautiful gardening magazines", it is beautiful to me. I was showing a neighbor one day a new blossom on the passiflora. It was such a perfectly beautiful blossom, and the fragrance was heavenly but there was a hole in one leaf. My neighbor pointed out the "defect" in the leaf and was looking very sad. I explained to her that the hole only made the leaf more beautiful and turned the leaf over to reveal a tiny caterpillar underneath. She said "oh, a worm we will kill it" but when i explained it was not a worm but a little larva wanting to grow up to be a butterfly, she saw how it was that the hole in the leaf made it more beautiful and became fascinated by my small garden. Now she and her husband come to visit my gardenfrom time to time and look for tiny holes and chewed edges and frass in/on the leaves of the plants. There is a pre-school a block from my house and i know the owner and from time to time she will bring various children to see the butterflies emerge or make chrysalises, or whatever they are doing at the time, other neighbors bring their small children as well. I am amazed by how intelligent their questions are and how observant they are. It is such a joy. Thank you so much for the link. I have really been focusing on the soil for the last couple of years and i will look forward to reading it.
     
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  6. Dinu

    Dinu Seedling

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    Custard apple is grown here and I have one young plant yet to bear its first fruit. In our old house there was one and we ate fruits that were not eaten by monkeys. They too had their share. Lovely fruit with lot of seeds and less pulp.

    I agree with what purple says..
    Fallen leaves and also green leaves are gold to the garden bed. Ever since I learnt the importance of this, I keep the bed covered esp. in the summer months. Some gets eaten by termites. The ones left by them will join the earth. They also keep out weed growth.

    vitrsna,
    It's so good to educate people, esp. younger lot, on Nature and its ways. All the more soothing when they learn a new thing. I too used to kill the caterpillars many years before and I realised it was a sin once I learnt their role in nature. We thought they were pests. In fact, we act like pests to them! Some birds will also look for these caterpillars. It's a wonder how they can spot them!
     
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  7. vitrsna

    vitrsna Seedling

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    The results are in. On the first post you can see the pest/disease problem that had attacked all 10' (3m) of the Dalechampia dioscoreifolia vine in my garden. It is a host plant for some butterflies i am hoping to attract in my area, so most leaf treatments are not an option. It was identified as some kind of sap sucking insect. It actually took me a few years to acquire viable seeds for this particular vine, and i only have one and i really didn't want to lose it. The vine is not available in any nurseries in Mexico. My solution was to cut back the vine to about 12" from the ground, isolate and throw out (not in the compost) the cut foliage, clean thoroughly the remaining stems of the plant, clear all the debris from the base of the vine, and then divide and transplant the vine to a couple of different locations in the garden. I did all of these things except divide and transplant. The new leaves came back and remain healthy and pest free. This is what the vine (or at least some of it) looks like today. This turned out to be a good remedy for me. Although this may have been a dry season disease that may have self-corrected in the wet season, i didn't want to take that chance and i didn't want the disease to spread to other vegetation. Things grow very fast in my zone 11.
    P1010432a.jpg
     
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  8. Dinu

    Dinu Seedling

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    Two months and some good results. :) Actually that is the way to keep the infestation from spreading further. Mere spraying something on the top will not help much. Rains will alleviate the healthy growth and blooms. May be the timing of what you did could prove to be the right one.
     
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  9. purpleinopp

    purpleinopp Young Pine Plants Contributor

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    Excellent results & report! I love the display too. Keep up the great work!
     
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  10. vitrsna

    vitrsna Seedling

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    Thank you purple...i will never ever cave in by resorting to poisoning Mother Nature...she has given us everything...the very idea is unthinkable:stew1:
     
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  11. Dinu

    Dinu Seedling

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    I'm of the same thought and follow it. The Bermuda grass I grow is my lawn. When this overgrows and I cut [no mowing], I feed the stray cattle that roam the streets and they stop over happily to have their fill. If I put poison to enjoy the external beauty of something, this 'service' is not possible. Also the insects that like to live there will not be harmed. There will be other methods to control them if they are too much of a problem. If one maintains a lawn for ornamental purpose, it will ask for too much attention and pesticides, not to mention water. So when something is treated inorganically, the animals or insects may not touch it and if they do, it will be harmful. P1240938.JPG
    Scene outside my gate. Happily enjoying grass, a group of cows.
     
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  12. Tooty2shoes

    Tooty2shoes Hardy Maple

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    Vitrsna, Hello from another Organic gardener in Wisconsin. I had no clue what the plant you mentioned in your original post was, or what grows in your much, much, warmer climates. My temps here during our summer season are usually in the high 70-80 degree range (21.6 celsius up to 31.6 sometime vary rarely 32.2) celsius. So glad you got those pests under control.
    But I try and garden organically.
    I use vinegar as a weed and grass killer. Hydrogen-peroxide for a fungus killer. It also I had two peach trees that where being attacked by a leaf fungus that caused the leaved to curl up and die. I found an article that said that Hydrogen-peroxide was great for killing all kinds of fungus. You put it in a spray bottle undiluted and spray the effected plant. I sprayed the peach trees when they set their buds, after they were just open, and then a week later when they were fully open. WOW, no fungus. But this last year I was so busy taking care of my mom that I didn't spray the peach trees. Most of the leaves are fine, but I do see a few that have the fungus. So I will get out there tomorrow and give them a spray.
    I also use mild to kill powdery mildew in my garden and yard. You mix one part milk with 9 parts water and spray on every week.
    I also use Diatomaceous earth to kill garden pests. A few weeks ago I had ear wigs eating all the leaves off of my Columbine flowers. Yikes! In less than a week they had one patch almost totally defoliated. :eek: So I got out my DE and gave the ground around them and what was left of the plants a good covering. It looked like a crazy baker had gone wild with sprinkling flour on them. Then I noticed my climbing rose had started to be eaten as well. So it got a good sprinkle of DE.
    Now I have new foliage growing back on the Columbine and the rose leaves look better also. You have to be careful with DE that you do not breath in the dust as it can damage your lungs. I always get the food grade so that I can take a tabled spoon of it disolved in water a few time a year. It is a great naturally wormer. You can give it to your pets as well. It also is a great flea killer.
    What more can I say. I also have many plants as food sources for the butterflies, bees, and birds in our area. HAPPY, HEALTHY GARDENING EVERYONE!:D
     
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  13. vitrsna

    vitrsna Seedling

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    Thank you Tooty for sharing all his great information. I have used hydrogen peroxide (a very mild solution in water) when starting seeds and keeping them damp (also in water where cuttings are being rooted) but i haven't heard of spraying it full strength for leaf fungus and i am sure going to try that. I have heard of the milk cure for powdery mildew from @Beeker here at the Stew. I haven't needed to use it yet (no zinnias this year) but i will sure be prepared with the information when i need it. As for diatomaceous earth, i know it has many uses but i have not yet found it for sale where i live (possibly i can order some from Amazon) or perhaps it is here hiding under a different name. This year i have been bothered by slugs, or rather my new plants have. I put aluminum foil around the base of the plants they were going after and it was very effective in keeping the slugs away. I looked for them (hunted actually), usually i found them as they casually crawled by. I scooped them up 1 or 2 each day and popped them in the freezer. I think this is the most humane way...either to freeze or to drown. No slug problems now. Then i had an infestation of Leaf-cutter ants which you would not have where you live, but they can defoliate a 20-30 foot tree in one night. I have a solution i use for all kinds of ants although i never spray it on plant leaves because it will harm the good bugs and caterpillars. The solution is water with dish soap (enough to make good suds when it is shaken) and 10 drops or so of cinnamon oil plus 10 drops of clove oil in a spray bottle. I hit the ants when they are on the walls, or paving stones, or running up and down the sides of various containers. They drop dead instantly. The ants mostly come into the garden from the street, over the roof and i am watchful that they don't make nests. But ants are very smart and after getting hit with this solution for 3 or 4 days in a row...they look elsewhere for things to eat. Sometimes they just change the location where they enter the garden but i know this trick of theirs and look for the ants coming into the garden in a different location and they quickly learn this is not going to work for them. This is the first time i've had a problem with leaf-cutter ants, i hope it is the last (they defoliated my Ixora). The rainy season has been very mild so far and i think this may be the reason. I think there is an organic solution for every gardening pest problem and by sharing information with like-minded people, we can keep our gardens and ourselves healthier. So thanks again for participating.:like:
     
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  14. Dinu

    Dinu Seedling

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    The name Wisconsin always rings a bell in my mind because the person who was also responsible in almost saving my life used to live there... I think he continues to even now. But then that is a different story...

    The new thing I learnt today is DE. I found this link, looking for information. I see that it has to be used dry and any amount of moisture would make it ineffective. Wonder if these kind of things are available here.

    I remember slugs in my yard too, 10-12 years ago in our old kitchen. It used to crawl up through the pipe and find itself to be seen by us in the sink! Yuck! I had left the outlet pipe into the open to allow waste water into the earth - I was not aware of many things at that time. That was when I had our full plot and maintaining it was a tough thing.

    I was so ignorant of many things 15-16 years ago when I used to throw away or burn dry leaves and the wastes from plants and trees until the day my school classmate saw me sitting under the tree and sipping tea. He came to attend Homeo classes which were / are going on in our house [weekly]. He had not seen me for 25 years and asked if I was the same Dinu! It was the starting point of our exchanges. He saw in the yard a heap of fallen flowers from the fiddlewood tree that I had swept into a pile. Look there, 'gold'! He told about composting and I came to know that he was an organic farmer now and knew many things. So I started to adapt these simple things. I used to think of pesticides but that was the only thing I knew till that time. I also used to apply inorganic manure [small amount] to see how they grew.. they did! With my friend Ramesh's visit and reunion, many things changed in the way I garden, also with the internet exposure into garden websites. I used to remove caterpillars from the plants.... until I learnt they would become butterflies! I was ignorant of this too!

    Now when I see birds entering the shrubs and finding its food, I'm happy..... If I spray poison just to see beautiful colours, the insects will die and will not live to find food and regenerate and the birds would not feel happy in poisonous environs. The earthworms would die if I put inorganic things and the earth would lose its friends who help us.

    A friend asked me to try dabbing alcohol to mealy bugs. It was effective bit was too hard to cover all areas of the plants it affected. I have to effectively try milk + water + cinnamon + clove. Soap - I have tried once. I used neem cake in the soil to some good effect too. But neem cake may not be available there. They helped in control of some pests while it had the capacity to hold moisture. I used this a lot for the two coconut trees also but it was of no avail. One tree was not well and the other had to be removed to make way for my pond. This was not giving much fruit anyway.
     
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  15. vitrsna

    vitrsna Seedling

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    @Dinu Neem is used here and also in the US as an "organic method" and it is indeed organic. Unfortunately it cannot distinguish between beneficial and destructive bugs. As a result i cannot use Neem in my garden because it would also kill the caterpillars and lady bugs who are happy to eat the aphids.
     
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