December is a chance to get away from it all. But it is also peak time for garden pests and fungal diseases caused by heat, rain and humidity.
If you are worried about pests eating up the garden while on holiday, there are nature friendly ways to protect your plants. Let’s face it, there is nothing worse than being greeted by a decimated garden on your return from holiday.
Prevent fungal diseases
Veggies like squash, cucumbers, and even tomatoes can be protected from fungus diseases if sprayed just before you go on holiday. This also applies to roses and other garden flowers. There are three fungicides that you can use: organic, biological or copper-based.
- EcoBuz Disease Pro contains antimicrobial metabolites which suppress plant diseases, specifically powdery mildew and downy mildew. Mix it with MultiGro, a foliar feed that stimulates growth, helping to increase the plant’s resistance. https://ecobuz.co.za/protect-diseasepro/
- Margaret Roberts Organic Fungicide protects new growth from powdery mildew and is also useful for bacterial leaf spot, damping off and many other diseases. The fungicide works weakening the fungus. It is systemic and is absorbed by the plant. http://www.kirchhoffs.co.za/product/kirchhoffs-margaret-roberts-organic-fungicide-reg-no-l7422-act3647/
- Ludwig’s Copper Count-N is It is a broad-spectrum fungicide and bactericide to control diseases like black spot, bacterial spot, botrytis rot, black spot and downy mildew with weekly applications. Tomatoes and many other vegetables can be harvested 3 days after applications. http://www.kirchhoffs.co.za/product/hygrotech-ludwigs-copper-count-n-reg-no-l2602-act-3647/
Build root health
Soil borne diseases affect the productivity and health of plants, more than most gardeners realise. EcoBuz ‘Root Pro’ contains a natural, beneficial fungus which grows symbiotically with plant roots. It paralyses and destroys soil pathogens, reducing the risk of root disease, aids root development and improves germination. Apply as a drench for plants that are showing signs of stress such as weak or limited growth, yellow leaves, and a susceptibility to pests and diseases. https://ecobuz.co.za/protect-root-pro/
Dealing with pests
Early detection is key to pest management. Keep an eye out for these nasty visitors and start to spray before the infestation becomes overwhelming and difficult to manage.
If you plan to go away, get the pests under control before you leave. Two registered organic pesticides are Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide and Ludwig’s Insect Spray. Both contain canola oil that smothers the insects and garlic to repel pests, with the addition of pyrethrum in Ludwig’s Insect Spray that kills small bodies insects on contact. http://www.kirchhoffs.co.za/product-category/garden-care/pest-control/
EcoBuz Pest Pro is a biological contact insecticide that contains beneficial fungi (Beauvaria Bassiana) that occurs naturally in soils. It is particularly effective against white fly. When spraying, make sure to cover the plant, drenching the underside of the leaves where the pests rest. Spray every seven days, for at least at least 21 days because that is the life cycle of adult whitefly. https://ecobuz.co.za/ecobuz-pest-pro/
Caterpillars are a major pest and there are two biological caterpillar insecticides that pose no threat to birds that may feed on the larvae. Both Margaret Roberts Biological caterpillar Insecticide and EcoBuz Larvae Pro contain the beneficial bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki (Btk).
Both are applied as a full cover spray on leaves and fruit. When the larva ingest it they stop eating and die. Spray when you see the tiny pinholes on the fruit. Spray the leaves in late afternoon or early evening when the caterpillars are feeding. It is not necessary to spray the larvae. Spray every seven to 14 days to break the life cycle of the larvae and prevent them from maturing.
* Compiled by Alice Coetzee