Life Force Organic Boost 1 ltr (Concentrate)

Many soils lack the nutrients required to produce and maintain healthy plants, trees and lawns. Life Force - Organic Boost offers a wide range of nutrients, including organic nitrogen, trace elements, kelp and natural plant growth promotants, in a concentrated liquid which is suitable for all gardens.

BENEFITS

  • Australian Certified Organic (ACO) Registered Farm Input 456AI.
  • A multi-purpose organic liquid fertiliser for healthy gardens throughout the year (complement with Organic Blooms? for fruit, vegetable and flower production).
  • Easy to use fertiliser suitable for all home garden nutritional requirements.
  • Improve the long-term health of plants, trees and lawns.
  • Improve the quality, taste and shelf-life of fruit and vegetables.
  • This concentrate makes up to 300 Litres

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Pests, Predators & Prevention

Pests & Predators

Prevention and Control

I got a couple comments in my recent survey about methods to control pests such as snails and grasshoppers. It can be difficult to resist the urge to reach for the pesticides but we must if we want to create an environment that is balanced with pest and predator. Striking this balance can take time so be patient and make the garden inviting to predators.

Pest control in my mind does not mean eradicating pests. This is surely impossible if you really think about it! The pesticides often kill the predators or good bugs. Also if there are no pests, there is no food for the good bugs so your system environment will be unbalanced. In general, prevention is by far the best approach and the best way is protecting garden beds with netting. Especially those more susceptible crops like brassica (Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower etc.) Another important defence is using resilient breeds of seeds and plants. I’m a relatively newbie in gardening myself so have not figured this all out yet but my advise would be to make notes of the variety of seeds, the brand, planting times etc and then make notes of pests and the severity so that you can start selecting the variety of  plants that have the most resilience for your location. This takes time and experimenting and I dont think there are short cuts.

Reference Guide

There are so many pests and prevention, control methods and therefore suggest you get a good reference guide to refer to. I’ve used a few. Check out your local library and web but I’ve found having a resource that I can pick-up when I need to identify an insect is a great tool. Take a photo of the culprit or damage if you can and then start your investigation. My recommendation for Australian gardens is a book called Garden Pests, Diseases & Good Bugs. I’d be grateful if you use my links if you did want to purchase because I make a small commission which helps my costs of running the blog. So head over to Booktopia if you want to purchase. This book has a good range of common pests which I found many other books dont. They structure it with Descriptions, Target plants, Damage, Life Cycle, Prevention, Natural enemies, and control. Also there are many cloud pictures to help identify.

Attracting good bugs (predators)

One blog is to short to cover everything but the best start to getting predators to your garden is not using pesticides as these often kill or deter the good bugs. Having a source of water is very important in the permaculture design. So even the smallest gardens should have at minimum a pond. Include rocks and some logs or branches into the garden so there are hiding places for lizards. Try keep some longer areas of grass such as at the edges off garden beds and incorporate ground covers so that the are places for predators to hide from other predators such as birds, cats and dogs.

Slugs and Snails

In response to some comments I’ll give some tips about grasshoppers, slugs and snails. Theses tips are taken from the book mentioned earlier.

Slugs and snails like the moist conditions and generally hide in the day. Try to find them in the early morning or evening and squish them. Better yet feed them to the chooks. Use gloves. Take note some snails can contain rat lungworm. See article Kids, put down the snails, they could carry rat lungworm.  You can also lay down bait such as a a dish of beer that they will be attracted to and drown in. For young seedlings create a barrier such as a plastic milk containers cut in half and with the bottoms cut off. Again protection with netting helps.

Grasshoppers.

The best advise for grasshoppers and crickets is prevention with netting and catching them. If you have chooks many pests make a great meal for  them. Make your garden attractive to lizards, frogs, magpies and other natural predators. I’m not certain yet but I first thought that locusts were my biggest problem pest.  On closer investigation I’m thinking that cluster caterpillar and other pests may be doing more harm and the locusts are doing more superficial damage. On my brassica I’m finding cluster caterpillar that are not just eating the leaves but burrowing into the heart of the stem where new shorts appear and this is causing a malformed head which is worse than a few leaves with holes that could be cut off.  course a swarm of grasshoppers will devastated your garden but take a closer look at the damage and make sure you have the right culprit identified.

Please like my post and throw a comment in so I know if these blogs are interesting to anyone.

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Chasing the Sun!

In the recent survey I posted, a question was asked about what full sun, part shade etc. means. So here my thoughts on it in terms of Australia and what I’ve read.

Aspect

The aspect of our garden to the sun is often the very first thing most new gardeners consider or are plagued with uncertainty. This is no surprise and worst of all you are often left with little choice (especially in suburban and urban areas) where to put your garden. The are a few things you can do though to help get more or less sun depending on your situation.

Full Sun, Part Shade

Firstly what exactly is full sun or part shade? Well, at a basic level I would say between 6-10 hours is Full Sun and around 3-6 hours is Part Shade.  That gives you a good start but it should not be the last consideration. Secondly, I’d consider when during the day are you getting these hours of sun. Generally speaking, if you have a choice the morning sun is preferable. Mid-day sun is too hot in most of northern half of Australia and less desirable. Mid-afternoon sun is then next preferable. An ideal example for growing most fruit and veg would be full morning sun and then filtered sun during the mid-day to late afternoon. So on the east coast north Eastley aspect is often perfect for both summer and winter.

Plan and Experiment

Getting this ideal example should not put you off and you need to experiment and a lot depends on the many variables of your garden – where your house or other buildings are located, existing trees, height of fences or walls etc. If you have a bit of a blank canvas such as just lawn and trying to decide what to do then try get as close to the ideal. From a permaculture standpoint design is at the core. Planing in the beginning can save you a lot of time, money and energy later on. Having said that, you need to give a go and learn from your mistakes.

Tips

Some tips might be. Simply count the number of hours sun at different parts of the garden during the day. If you finding lower 6 or seven hours you could consider raised beds so that walls for example provide less shade. If you getting too much sun (or too hot) Consider planting some trees that could give filtered light through there canopies. Also consider companion planting plants that are different heights which can provide shade and shelter if needed.

Take consideration when searching the internet to look at blogs and forums from your local area. Also take into account where they are and you are in the world and what there temperatures are like. Many books are European and from the UK so sun is a lot more important than Australia because of colder climates.

Please drop us a comment, ask any questions and I’d be happy to answer, point you in a direction of a good resource or research an answer for you.

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