Plumbago leaf miner, greywater and grapes
Does your plumbago look a bit ravaged and almost burnt? Look closer and you will see that the damage is not sunburn but a tiny caterpillar which affects citrus called the Citrus leaf miner. Unfortunately it's prevalent in hot weather, and the difficulty lies in finding a cool enough temperature (ie below 32C) in which to spray Eco oil or Pest Oil. These products are both very effective in suffocating these little pests. Alternatively, just cut off the distorted foliage but for some people, if they prune all the affected growth off they won't be left with much plant! Also worth trying is spinosad, which is more commonly used against fruit fly. There are a few brands around now, but we like to use the original Eco Growth product Eco Natralure as it works a treat for both fruit fly and caterpillars.
Well, it sure is harvest time in our garden at the moment, with figs, bananas, grapes and our first decent crop of mangoes ripening. Such a treat!
The grapes, mangoes and bananas are watered via our shower grey water only and they provide wonderul privacy from the neighbours, abundant fruit and banana leaves which our chooks adore.
Grey water is a great resource but the success of the system depends largely on what plants you water with it and what is going into those purple pipes. We use a gentle Nourish shampoo, liquid Castille (olive oil) soap and apple cider vinegar and lavender oil to condition our hair. The ACV works a treat and contrary to popular belief, you don't end up smelling like a fish and chip shop! Solid soap and chemical body washes and hair products are not a good choice for a healthy grey water eco system. If you were a plant, would you like to drink a cocktail of sludgy chemicals? Plants which grow well in grey water systems and can cope with occasional flooding and daily water include lawns, many fruit trees, cannas, daylilies, callistemons, sedges and melaleucas. But again, it depends on what you put in the system.
Ironically most Garden Deva clients are sustainably minded and love the idea of grey water but want to put in vegies and native plants which isn't usually recommended - the veg for health reasons and the natives generally need well drained soil and aren't so keen on the constant water. Please Contact us if you would like help designing a grey water friendly garden.
If you would like to install a grey water system, you can either install it yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
Garden Deva recommends the following grey water experts::
We live next to a laneway and it's always so disappointing when, having putting energy into watering, fertilising and caring for our grapes during the year, someone just wanders up when they're ripe and harvests the lot before we can get to them. Could they not just knock on the door and ask? Though, admittedly I can put my hand up to a bit of lime pinching or sneaking the odd cutting or two.
However, years have gone past where we have had absolutely no fruit due to some grape loving soul stripping the vine, so I came up with a solution which has worked perfectly. Not one grape has been touched since I put up this sign, despite it not being strictly true.....If you can't see the pic clearly, it says:
"These grapes have been sprayed with pesticides. Eat at your own risk".
I came out the back door the other day just as a group of young men were completely hoeing into the overhanging grapes. Suddenly, mid mouth shovel, one of them saw the sign and started shouting hysterically and spitting them out, warning his mates to do the same. A few metres away, hidden by the banana patch, I watched them and did my best not to laugh. Our neighbour has since done the same thing with her grapes.
So we now luxuriate in eating our delicious heirloom grapes and share them when we choose to. Another bonus is the sheer entertainment of watching our grape addicted chooks get their aerobic workout by jumping up and down to peck the hanging bunches.