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Crop rotation

In Mort Bay Community Garden we grow a wide variety of crops, which all need a plant-specific set of nutrients and are challenged by different pests. Growing a sequence of different types of crops in any one bed over subsequent seasons is called crop rotation, a strategy already practised by Middle Eastern farmers 8000 years [more]

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Tomato Bud Worm

  Signs of infestation Young caterpillars feed on the foliage first before moving into flower buds or developing fruits. What is happening and why? Budworms are caterpillars of the Helicoverpa moth family. The moths lay their eggs at night on young foliage close to fruits or flower buds and the young caterpillars feed on the [more]

Dealing with citrus stink bugs

When inspecting plants look out for tell-tale signs: the actual animals, often sucking at the most tender leaves. Black adult or orange immature bugs limp and wilting leaves leaves that show brown, burnt areas intense, repugnant citrus smell Preventive measures: Not many predators go for stink bugs because of their caustic defence tactics. Make sure [more]

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Dealing with aphids

When inspecting plants look out for tell-tale signs: the actual animals, often sucking at the most tender leaves plenty of ants patrolling the plants limp and wilting leaves sugary, sticky honeydew on the leaves Preventive measures: Aphids are hard to prevent, but there are a lot of predators eating aphids. Companion plant flowers with the [more]

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Aphids

Aphids are soft skinned sap-sucking insects. They are tiny animals about 2 to 8 mm long. Aphids come in a range of colours: green, black and brown, whitish and light red. Other names are black-fly and green-fly. Most aphids species specialise on particular host plants. They are a serious and if not contained devastating pest. [more]

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Caterpillars

Caterpillars are the larvae from butterflies and moths. They look like little worms with 6 legs near the head and some additional stumps at the other end. Caterpillars have a wide range of colours, usually those that allow them to camouflage, browns, yellows and greens prevail. They come with smooth skin, covered in bristly hairs [more]

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Dealing with caterpillars

Depending on the severity of the caterpillar impact there are several options. Always first try to use preventive measures to avoid caterpillar problems: Preventive measures: Plant companion plants! Avoid dry stress and mulch beds in dry conditions. Avoid underfeeding of plants. Regularly, every second week and after strong rain apply worm-juice or seaweed solution (should [more]

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Orchard swallowtail

  Who says that pests have to be ugly? The adult stage of this animal is a beautiful butterfly. Indigenous to eastern Australia and PNG these butterflies have a wingspan of up to 14 cm. They are mostly black and white with red, orange and blue patterns on their back wings. The larvae is a [more]

Budworm moth

Budworms are caterpillars of the Helicoverpa moth family. The moths lay their eggs at night on young foliage close to fruits or flower buds and the young caterpillars feed on the foliage first before moving into buds or developing fruits. Budworm moths choose several fruits for their young ones, in our garden they are a [more]

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Cabbage butterfly

This 5 cm large butterfly is a common sight in the garden. It has white wings with black tips and dots. There are several species of cabbage butterfly that look and behave very similar. Other names of those butterflies are large white butterfly or small white or simply white butterfly depending on the species. The [more]

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Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is the name of a variety of fungi, that affect the leaves of plants. They are present everywhere in the environment and are brought in by wind, birds and insects. Powdery mildew loves warm humid nights and dry, warm and shady areas of the garden. Really wet conditions and constant very high or [more]

Preventing powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal infection, distributed by fungal spores. The fungus favours warm moist conditions to set foot onto a plant and warm dry conditions to thrive. We can’t control the presence of fungal spores and we can’t control the weather conditions but there are some basic rules that help reducing the risk: always [more]

Dealing with powdery mildew

Once a leave is seriously infected it needs to be removed. It can go into the compost because the spores are around in the environment anyway. We can’t remove the spores, but we can make the conditions less favourable for the fungi. We use different approaches and are still testing which works best for us. [more]

Basic pest-control strategy

Insect and fungal pests are a natural part of our ecosystem. We strive to reduce their damaging impact by trying to understand their needs and changing the conditions in our garden to be less inviting to them by tolerating a degree of pest damage to encourage predatory animals to life in our garden. By eating [more]