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May 2018 - Long weekends and Those blasted cockroaches

Hi Everyone,

Don't you just love long weekends?  That extra day makes all the difference.  Saturdays get used for housework,shopping and cleaning, Sunday we had a family day and I got out there in the afternoon and watered everything so I could start in the garden with what I wanted to do.  I really need to go part time at work.  Four days per week would be perfect,  but you know... Money.

I needed to get quite a lot done.  I had to respray all the citrus with lime sulfur to hopefully get rid of the white louse scale and oyster scale infecting some of the trees.  I also did my Lychee trees as one of them had signs of Erinose mites again.  Bubbling on the top surface of the leaves is the first sign and if you flip them over, you will see this brown, velvety looking stuff.  DO NOT let it get out of control or you will lose all your flowers and have no fruit set.

I also needed to prune back the custard apple as it had gotten too tall and I was never going to let it get out of control.  Lucky for me the rain held off just long enough to prune it.  My little cumquat that succumbed to the white louse scale also needed to be cut out.  I was going to try and save it but even after spraying it 2 weeks ago, it was still covered in the stuff so it had to go.  Plus, I just may have also already bought another plant and remember, I have no room so if I buy one tree, one has to go.  It is a Red ball Lychee tree if you're interested - big lychees and should be earlier fruit than my current two trees.  I also managed to go rake the council land and brought back 4 barrowfulls of grass clippings (The ground had finally dried out enough for them to slash - the grass was 1m high in some spots.)  This went into the chooks big pen area and mulched the "out of the fence" garden and also went into my new compost pile (need to get some horse poo to add).

My daughters pond was lifeless - that is until my water lillies arrived.  Planted those up and put them in so of course, we now had to go and get the fish. I just also had to buy these gorgeous miniature roses to line the edge of the beds.

I planted some little pots with successive lots of Coriander and I also got rid of the big pot with the thyme and the shallots and replanted the thyme into a smaller pot.   My basil was looking manky so I ripped it out and the mint, rosemary and parsley are still going great in their pots on the steps.  love having the herbs in easy reach of the kitchen

I went to go harvest an extra hand of banana's but the two bunches are now at the stage where they are ripening on the tree which sets off a chain reaction of ripening ESPECIALLY since I've now had to cover them cause the bats have found them.  I had to harvest WAY more than I intended -> 40 banana's are now in the freezer for smoothies and the rest are on the bench.  There is still about 40 left on the two bunches that were still very green.  Hopefully they won't ripen as quickly now all the yellowing ones have been removed.

It looks like my first Afourer Mandarins will be ready soon.  These really should be late fruit and it is just the one that is this bright orange, the rest look more like the one on the right.   Don't worry about the white stuff, that's just the sulfur spray.

The fig tree that I replanted last year managed to grow a couple of fruits.  The two I've eaten so far have been gorgeous.  It is so funny though, they stay so small for ages and then all of sudden, they swell over a period of 3-5 days so you know to keep an eye on it and it will be ready in a day or so.  I finally managed to take a photo BEFORE I gutsed it.  Not quite yet ready, I'll leave it on there another day or so and it should swell a bit more and then start to go brown.

On to those blasted cockroaches.  Last blog, I had planted out all my lettuces, beetroot, bean and snow peas seedlings and direct sowed some carrots, spinach, lettuce and beetroot seeds.  Not a single lettuce was left THE NEXT DAY!!!, every second beetroot seedling got chomped and all of the seeds that then kept sending up beautiful tender shoots got destroyed.  Lucky I had saved 1/2 my tomato seedlings because in their bed, the exact same thing happened.  I could at least replant and put collars around them.  I have resorted to the bait stations again.  Not organic I know but the choice is to have every single thing I plant destroyed or to put in the baits.  They have done their jobs, I have seen hundreds of dead cockroaches around the baits and have scooped many of them up and disposed of.  I have since replanted with some store bought lettuce seedlings and will get some more carrots and beetroot direct sowed this afternoon if it stopps raining.

The broccoli/cabbage bed is looking good, the two older plants at the back have small heads starting to form.   I need to get another bed set up so I can plant some more.

I only had one of the rhubarbs survive summer and my perennial leeks were struggling in their Full sun summer bed.  I have moved them into the bed with the rhubarb (full sun winter, mostly shade summer) and hopefully they will do better with the cooler spot.  I intend to buy more crowns this year and just experiment with getting some rhubarbs that will survive the summer and perk right up in winter. DO NOT BUY FROM DIGGERS THOUGH - see my old posts about diggers debacals.

For any of you thinking of keeping your trombonccino's through winter -> do it.  They will go manky looking but you will still get harvests.  Just prune back the really weak growth and make sure you keep up with fertiliser feeds.  If you look closely, two big ones there.

Finally harvested my first ripe peanut butter fruit.  Thought about sharing it with the kids - for like 1 second - then ate it.

Finally, I'll leave you with a shot of my flowers.  Notice the beautiful long pink bud -> my rose leaf involcruta that I grew from Diannes cuttings have sent out flowers.  YAY.  Most of my flowers are not yet ready because I cut everythign back in the big clean up.  Hopefully everything will regrow and I've planted some seedlings of Calendula, poppies, cornflowers, pansy and primula this weekend.

Well, that's it from me folks.  Happy gardening.   PS Christa, I'm going to Jerry Colby Williams garden visit next weekend, did you still want a Paramatta sweets mandarin?

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 12, 2018 at 23:30

Thank you for the info on the cockies. They sound truly awful. I hope they don't fancy a trip up north.

Comment by Susan on May 12, 2018 at 18:01

Hi Elaine,  I remember reading up about them and they are NOT the native -> too small.  They are a major problem in any beds off the ground as usually their numbers would be controlled by toads, lizards etc but are protected by the raised beds.  They are Surinam cockroaches and are pests in the subtropics as they will eat anything and everything when they get to high enough numbers. LINK: Surinam cockroach AND

I always have some in my garden beds and in the compost but they occasionally get to plague proportions, particularly after I've mulched heavily.

Roger, I think they are the brown Genoa -> they do get darker once they start to ripen.   I was working until 1 today :) I replanted all my carrot seeds and some more peas and beans and spinach so here's hoping.

I had tried leaving them empty Lissa but would never remove the mulch so they would still survive.  Baits have done their job and I replanted lettuce seedlings 1 week ago and they have all survived!! Yay. 

Christa - picked up the paramatta sweets for you today.  Let me know if you are going to a garden visit or send me your address and I'll see if I can get it out to you.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 11, 2018 at 9:22

Thanks for those pix Lissa. I do remember those photos now. The roaches look a lot like a native cocky we see about in the garden. But not so far bothering my plants. Not shouting too loud about that :-\

Comment by Roger Clark on May 11, 2018 at 7:43

A great post again Susan. Are your Figs White Adriatics? They look the same colour. They are very easy to strike from cuttings so you can expand your crops next year (if you have the space). You might try Diatamacious Earth as an experiment to keep crawling insects, such as cockroaches at bay. I have never had this problem but I know that it works on them indoors (they get cut by the very sharp edges of the earth) which you might ring your plants with. Just an idea if you want to keep things organic. Thanks for your promotion of the Trombonchinos, they have proved a great supplier of food over Summer and into Autumn. They Just keep on producing and don't seem to get the same problems with mildew that affect the Zucchinis or Button Squash. It seems that they are most happy when climbing up and over things which keeps the air circulating around them, but mine have also succeeded sprawling along the ground, although the fruits often get attacked by crawlies on the ground. I just love this time of the year, you can work all day in the garden, and not get heat exhaustion.  

Comment by Lissa on May 11, 2018 at 7:23

Small roaches Elaine - I never did get an ID. Looking a bit like the German roaches but that is not to say they were. They ate everything in their path.

Looked through my blogs and then (!!) did a search of the site and came up with this PHOTO.  Very important that we add our Tags.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 11, 2018 at 5:58

Yes I remember that episode at your garden, Lissa. Were they the exotic cockies we see in our houses? Or a native one - we have many species of cockies native to rainforests but don't know if they inhabit other niches as well and, like the fruit fly are running wild in a man-made environment. Did you ever get any pics of them?

Comment by Lissa on May 11, 2018 at 5:40

Beautiful :)

Those damn cockroaches are so persistent. From memory I left the affected beds empty for a bit (also used baits) until they had run their lifecycle.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 8, 2018 at 13:46

I'm mind-boggled at the Cockies. Could you send a pic next time you see one? For all the years I've gardened, I have not ever seen a cockroach anywhere near plants. Slithering under doors and laying eggs in neglected cupboards I can relate to but not the garden.

Comment by Sophie on May 8, 2018 at 12:11

sorry to hear about the mishaps but garden looking fab!

Comment by Mary-Ann Baker on May 7, 2018 at 20:55

susan are you are sure its cockroaches doing the damage? they are reputedly to only eat dead and decaying matter ! 

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