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I have a little garden in Rozelle about 5km from the centre of Sydney. I love to grow as much organic food as I can in a tiny space. The garden calms and excites me, and is a wonderful little green space in a big city. This blog is a record plotting the changes over seasons and years.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Watermelon for a tiny backyard

Last year was a big one. On the up side, I handed in my PhD thesis after 5 years of work. On the down side, the garden had to survive on very little input from me. After a fantastic bushwalking holiday in Tasmania (January) we returned to some lovely produce. Certainly not the volumes or variety of previous years, but food nonetheless. Tomatoes, eggplant and chillies for now. And watermelon, capsicum, sweet potato, silverbeet and persimmon coming along nicely.

One of the most pleasant surprises has been the watermelon. My 10 year old desperately wanted to grow watermelon, despite my reservations. I chose a space saving variety from Diggers club. Here are the results so far.

This watermelon lives up to its name - Sugar Baby. It really is a baby. This is 4 plants and they have not taken over the garden. I was worried with memories of a previous watermelon vine covering the garden, deck and footpath.
Here is one of the fruit growing. The fruit are only about 15cm across when mature.
Another tiny (and very cute) fruit.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Citrus pests and diseases

It has been a while since my last blog post. I have a pretty good excuse though. I am submitting my PhD thesis in under a month, and am trying to prioritise thesis writing over everything else. 

This post is mainly for me. I need a quick list of citrus pests and diseases and what I can do about them, so I can look back on it rather than looking up my big books. My mandarin, lemon, lime, ruby grapefruit and kaffir lime seem to have constant issues (despite getting the most attention)! Citrus seem to have so many pests and diseases. I have spent hours over the past month killing stink bugs, only to notice a myriad of other citrus issues. I am quietly wondering about whether they are going to be long term residents of the garden or not.  For now, let's pretend that they are here to stay.  I'd love some help with identifying diseases/deficiencies. And other tips for healthy citrus! Here is my list so far......
PEST: Bronze-orange bugs (stink bugs); CONTROL: big tub of boiling water with detergent, protect your eyes, double glove, then pick them off one by one and throw them in the boiling water.

PEST: mealy bug; CONTROL: if there aren't too many (there aren't) just chop off affected leaves and branches.
PEST: citrus gall wasp (with a stink bug in the background); CONTROL: cut off completely (and the book says 'burn by the end of August'). I put the cuttings in a plastic bag and put it in the ordinary bin.

DISEASE or DEFICIENCY: I don't know! Anyone have suggestions?
DEFICIENCY: Darker veins, yellowing surrounds = iron deficiency (I think) REMEDY: iron chelates used as directed on the box. Not sure what the spots are. Anyone???

PEST: citrus leaf miner; CONTROL: (1) avoid too much water in summer/autumn to avoid new leaf flush, (2) eco-oil or pest oil on affected leaves