How to Make Best Natural Bug Spray  

Posted by on March 30, 2018 in Gardening | 0 comments

How to Make Best Natural Bug Spray  

Every garden, big or small, requires the managing of insects and other pests. Good planning, healthy plants and good combination planting are the first lines of defense against undesired pests. When you are faced with an incoming pest problem, sometimes you just need to SPRAY! Here are the best sprays and methods we know of. Pest Spraying Tips Never use spray on plants during hot sunny weather as it may cause the leaves to burn. Natural soap is tolerated by plants better than detergent (which may have other ingredients such as surfactants, enzymes and softeners added). Decide what you need to do and do no more. For example, do you want to kill the wretched caterpillars that are making a mess of your cabbages? Right, get the biggies by hand and/or make up a strong killer mix and stop them in their munchy tracks! From then on you should be able to keep an eye out and use only a mixture that deters or repels the butterflies or moths from landing to lay eggs. Always remember you want a garden teeming with life with the many insects and creatures keeping each other in check without you rocking the boat too much. Yes you want wonderful vegetables, flowers and trees to eat and enjoy; so practice diversity and don’t aim for perfection and neatness. Even when using natural sprays, do as little harm as possible and don’t try to outgun nature. Here are the best non-toxic organic garden pest control solutions: Garlic Fire Spray Garlic fire spray is the stuff of legend. There are many recipes, but they consist of some or all of the following: garlic, chilli peppers, soap, vegetable oil, kerosene and water. Don’t leave home without a concoction of this. Depending on its strength it will slay dragons and ants 2-3 garlic bulbs (about 6-10 cloves per bulb) 6 large or 12 smaller hot chilli peppers (any variety will do, or if unavailable try 1-2 tablespoon hot chilli powder) 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 3 squirts of liquid detergent (approximately 1 dessertspoonful) 7 cups water. (Use about 2-3 cups in the blender, and top up with the rest later) Put the whole lot into a blender and vitamize well, then strain through muslin, a coffee filter or similar. Pour what you need into a spray bottle for use and keep the rest in jars with lids on in a cupboard or on a shelf somewhere, well labeled. Experiment with it if necessary and check for results or any damage to young plants. If it fixes the problem and your plants are happy, you’ve got the perfect mix, but if there’s still a few biggie pests, albeit struggling, then lower the water dilution rate or change the ingredient quantities slightly. Lovely garlicky, pongy stuff, but the smell dissipates quickly once it’s been sprayed around. This garlic fire mixture needs to be re-sprayed frequently, such as after rain and dew. It’s best to spray every few days until there’s no sign of pests, then about every week to 10 days for any eggs or larvae that may have hatched out. Uses for this natural garden pest control are unlimited. Because it has oil and dish-washing liquid in it, it sticks to plants as well as suffocating pests such as scale...

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A tiny beetle and its deadly fungus is threatening South Africa’s trees.

Posted by on March 30, 2018 in Gardening | 0 comments

A tiny beetle and its deadly fungus is threatening South Africa’s trees.

Calling all gardeners to watch out for this beetle. Details including photographs of the symptoms, GPS coordinates or a street address, the host tree species and the reporter’s contact details can be sent to diagnostic.clinic@fabi.up.ac.za. You can also contact your Municipality’s Environmental Department. What does it look like?  What does the damage  look like?   February 27, 2018 5.21pm SAST Author Wilhelm de Beer Associate Professor, University of Pretoria Disclosure statement Wilhelm de Beer receives funding from National Research Foundation, Tree Protection Co-operative Programme, and the DST-NRF Centre Of Excellence In Tree Health Biotechnology. University of Pretoria provides funding as a partner of The Conversation AFRICA. The Conversation is funded by Barclays Africa and seven universities, including the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University and the Universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pretoria, and South Africa. It is hosted by the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Western Cape, the African Population and Health Research Centre and the Nigerian Academy of Science. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Strategic Partner. more Republish this articleRepublish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. The polyphagous shothole borer is tiny – but a fungus it’s commonly associated with can be deadly for trees. Wilhelm de Beer   Sandton is Johannesburg’s economic hub – home to numerous companies’ headquarters and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. And now it has a new, unwelcome resident: a tiny beetle that could lay waste to several tree species found in the suburb and potentially the wider Johannesburg area. This is particularly concerning, as Johannesburg is considered one of the world’s largest urban forests, with more than 10 million trees. The polyphagous shothole borer, or Euwallacea fornicatus, seems to be a newcomer to South Africa. It was discovered in the country for the first time in 2017 by Dr Trudy Paap, a postdoctoral fellow at a biotechnology institute at the University of Pretoria. During a survey for diseases in the KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg, Paap found a lane of infested plane trees. The identity of the beetle was subsequently confirmed and the tiny beetle – they are each about 2mm long – has been found at work in gardens and roadsides in Johannesburg, about 500 km from Pietermaritzburg. The beetle isn’t alone. It carries several fungal species with it when it infests living trees. One of these, Fusarium euwallacea, seems to be a permanent associate of the beetle. This fungus can eventually kill a beetle-infested tree. The beetle and the fungus have devastated trees in California in the US as well as in Israel. Insecticides aren’t effective because the beetles bore deep into the wood. The only known method of managing the spread is to cut down infested trees and burn them. But research is underway to find more effective methods. A threat to native forests and fruit trees In late January my colleagues and I at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute were contacted by Niel Hill, an urban forestry consultant in Johannesburg. He was concerned about several dying trees in the Sandton area. Symptoms varied on different tree species from patches of white powdered wood (called frass), to blotches of oozing resin, on the bark surrounding the beetles’ entrance holes. On some trees he had also spotted small, elevated lesions on the bark resembling shotgun wounds. Hill said that trees...

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Aprium, anyone? The pick of hybrid fruit and vegetables

Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Gardening | 0 comments

Aprium, anyone? The pick of hybrid fruit and vegetables

The Guardian. Some of the tastier food on supermarket shelves created by experimentation in the produce world. Yen Pham  Mellow beets: Badger Flame beetroots. Photograph: twitter/@UWMadisonCIAS Badger Flame beetroot Row 7, a collaboration between a chef, a plant breeder and a seedsman, aims to sell seeds for vegetables that might not otherwise reach a broad market, reported the New York Times last month. One of its offerings is the Badger Flame, a beetroot of brilliant orange that a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison bred to produce a sweet and mild variety his children would enjoy.   FacebookTwitterPinterest No more tears? The EverMild onion. Photograph: evermild.com The EverMild onion The troubled reputation of agriculture giant Monsanto was built on Roundup, Agent Orange and genetically modified commodity crops. But it discovered that GM wasn’t as effective in producing new vegetables as a tried-and-tested method: crossbreeding (enhanced for the 21st century by a technique called genetic marking). Among its inventions is the EverMild onion, bred for lower levels of the pyruvate that lend onions their pungency and tear-inducing qualities.   FacebookTwitterPinterest The oroblanco: big in Japan. Photograph: Alamy The oroblanco The oroblanco was introduced to the world in the 1980s after its development at the University of California Citrus Experiment Station. A cross between the grapefruit and a pomelo, it borrows from the latter to make a less bitter hybrid. Initially unsuccessful because it is green even when ripe, it has bounced back, partly due to success in popularising the similar Sweetie variety in Japan.   FacebookTwitterPinterest Major toms: black tomatoes, a product of US-Israeli experimentation. Photograph: Alamy Black tomatoes Scientists from the US and Israel have experimented with breeding “black tomatoes” that are red on the inside and dark on the outside. Their exterior hue derives from high levels of anthocyanin, the pigment that lends blueberries, blackberries and chokeberries their colour. Black tomatoes are commercially available in the UK under the name Indigo Rose.   FacebookTwitterPinterest Basket weave: Apriums are mostly apricot, with a hint of plum. Photograph: Alamy Apriums and pluots Developed in California in the 1980s by Floyd Zaiger, apriums and pluots are hybrids themselves descended from hybrids. Plums and apricots have been naturally cross-pollinating for centuries. The aprium and pluot were created by tinkering with proportions. The aprium is mostly apricot and part plum; the pluot the other way around. Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new...

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Dovyalis caffra (Hook.f. & Harv.) Hook.f.

Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Gardening | 0 comments

Dovyalis caffra (Hook.f. & Harv.) Hook.f.

At the entrance to the Leisure Isle Boat Club you will find this lovely small tree – at the moment (end March) laden with green-golden fruits, some of the ripened golden fruits have fallen to the ground ready to be harvested.  The fruits are delicious, very similar to the taste of a persimmon without the astringent taste.  The ripe fruit readily peels by pulling the thin skin off. See article below published by SANBI.   Family: Salicaceae Common names: Kei-apple (Eng.); Kei-appel (Afr.); motlhono (North Sotho); umqokolo (Zulu); amaqokolo (Ndebele); mukokolo (Shona) SA Tree No: 507 Dovyalis caffra is a lovely evergreen fruit tree or shrub. It is one of the three Dovyalis species, together with D. zeyheri (wild apricot) and D. rhamnoides (common sour berry), which are of considerable importance as a source of income for some local communities in southern Africa. A trial planting of southern African fruit trees in a desert in Israel is also going to include this plant (Dovyalis caffra). It is an attractive, drought- and frost-resistant tree or shrub. Description Dovyalis caffra is usually 3-5 m in height, but sometimes reaches 8 m with a much branched crown. It is a tree or spiny shrub of moderate growth rate that may be planted close together to form a good hedge. Creamy green flowers form in November to December. Male flowers are 3 mm long in dense clusters of 5-10 flowers. Female flowers are found in groups of up to three on stalks 4-10 mm long in leaf axils. The fruits are up to 60 mm in diameter and are yellowish-orange in colour. Distribution and habitat The Kei-apple grows in valley bushveld, dry areas, wooded grassland, on forest edges, from Eastern Cape through KwaZulu-Natal to Swaziland, into Limpopo [Northern Province] and Zimbabwe. Derivation of name and historical aspects Dovyalis is a Greek word meaning spear, and caffra is derived from Kaffraria (Eastern Cape). Ecology Insects and birds play a very important role in pollinating this tree. Birds such as the louries and the black-eyed bulbuls love the fruits of a Dovyalis caffra, which are delicious. By eating the fruits, birds also help to distribute the seeds. Baboons, antelope and monkeys also like to eat the fruit. Uses Dovyalis caffra can be cultivated as a border or a screen, or used to form an impenetrable hedge around a garden to keep unwanted animals and people out.  It will grow well in either full sun or light shade, and will also need regular trimming in order to maintain a good hedge.  The leaves are used as fodder (bulk feed for livestock).  The fruits are edible, and make excellent jam. Growing Dovyalis caffra The Kei-apple is easily propagated from seed. The fruits must be ripe before they are collected. The seed must be cleaned and dried in a shady spot before planting. They should then be sown in seedling trays filled with river sand or seedling mix. The seeds must be pressed down into the sand until they are level with the surface of the sand and then covered with a layer of fine sand. The Kei-apple can also be propagated from hardwood cuttings as long as they are treated with root-stimulating hormone before planting. It also has a good growth rate of about 600 mm per year. References Germishuizen, G., Meyer, N.L., Steenkamp, Y. & Keith, M. (eds) 2006. A Checklist of...

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