After cutting an Abiu, clean the knife with cooking oil to remove any sticky sap. (Chris Gray, April 2001)

To keep ANTS from climbing over fresh fruit stored inside the house, put fruit in a bowl and set it in a dish of water. This will keep your fruit free from ants. (5-81)

To keep ants out of trees while the fruit is ripening, get some Glad Wrap and wrap it around the tree 3-4 times and put a narrow 1cm band of Vaseline on top of the Glad Wrap as an ant barrier. If you don't use Glad Wrap, Vaseline will ringbark your tree. You could buy AntStop which is a tape which also does the same job. (Peter Young - Birdwood Nursery)

Whitewashing tree trunks in hot climates has always been a common practice to reflect sunlight and repel insects. Israeli farmers will soon be spraying ordinary whitewash directly onto crops now that researchers at Israeli's Agricultural Research Organisation have proved that the substance can reduce the incidence of insect (specifically aphid) viruses by 50 percent. Ordinary whitewash, usually used to paint walls, is proving successful, the researchers say, because one of the most notorious carriers of plant diseases, a group of insects called aphids, simply don't like the colour white.

Dr. Shlomo Marco and Dr. Shlomo Cohen, who led the experiments believe that white repels aphids because of its reflecting properties which may blur the insect's view of its target. (Extract from Queensland Fruit and Vegetable News, Sept. 1986)

Aphid Repellent
Mix together 1 tsp. Condy's Crystals, 1 Tbl. Epsom Salts, 1 bucket water. Spray the plants regularly and each week tip a little of the mixture around the base of the plant. Ingham Branch Newsletter, December 1992.

Aphid Spray
A handful of tomato leaves soaked for a day in half a litre of water makes a good aphid spray.(Cardwell/Johnstone Branch Newsletter April and June, 1994.)

A strong jet of water from a garden hose will rinse off aphids. Cup your hand behind tender tips for protection as you apply the spray. (Mackay Branch, March 1994)

Avocado Tips
To hasten ripening of avocado (picked when mature). Place fruit in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple. The gas given off from the ripened fruit aids in ripening the avocado.

Another way is to place avocadoes on top of the hot water system where it is warm (Jim Wait, Feb. 2000).

If serving avocado hot, do not overcook, as the flavour will become bitter; use moderate heat only.

Freezing avocado (good-quality ripe fruit only). Mash the flesh, add lemon juice and place in freezer bags, or suitable containers.
Extracts from Mackay RFCA News Sheet 14.3.88.

Bananas - Drying
To dry bananas or other fruit by the sun dry method: make a frame, say four feet by four feet, just by using some pine board. Then tack fibreglass fly screen tightly across frame. (Fly screen is best as fibre glass does not contaminate fruit.)

Get bananas that you think are too ripe to eat. Slice them and lay them evenly across rack. Place bananas in sun during the day, bring inside at night. About seven days in sun will dry bananas sufficiently. Put in air-tight jar in fridge. These make excellent snacks for the kids. (1-81)

You can dip the slices in orange, lemon or lime juice. Soak them in passionfruit pulp for a few minutes before you place them in the dryer. The slices will be a lovely yellow colour and have a great flavour. (Chris Gray, Feb. 2000)

Gardenias and hoyas do well when cut-up bananas are dug into the soil around them. The skins of bananas can be used to keep the leaves of plants glossy. Ingham Branch Newsletter, December 1992.

As a general rule don't spray anything on plants while they are in flower. B.T. for caterpillars is safe. For those organic growers who use diatomaceous earth for pest control, remember that its sharp crystals also pierce the bodies of bees, causing them to die of dehydration. (August 2000)

Birds - Coping
To lure birds from fruit destined for the table: plant amongst fruit trees some mulberry trees and some ornamental trees and shrubs. Birds prefer bitter, sour, acid or aromatic fruit which we find distasteful. Only when these fruit are unavailable do the birds steal from our fruit trees. (1-81)

Black Beetles
If you are keen to eradicate those awful black beetles that eat young foliage on your trees and shrubs, take a small bucket and put 1" of kerosene in the bottom of the bucket. Now approach tree quietly and put bucket under affected foliage. Gently touch foliage. The black beetle thinks he can get away by pretending to fall to the ground. He does this and falls into bucket with kero and dies instantly. If you keep this up you will eradicate this pest from your garden. Morning is the best time. (1-81)

Bud grafting:
The secret of bud grafting is that root stock must have a flush of growth - it is the only time bark will lift easy on citrus.

When doing a bud grafting, wrap up bud with tape fast - start at bottom, around bud, leaving the bud exposed around top, and tie off. Keep root stock well-watered. After bud has grown out, tie new shoot to root stock vertically, so new growth will grow straight up. When trained, remove tie. (Peter Santry, Julatten, 11-97)

Bug lights/Zappers
A study of insects killed by bug zappers showed a large percentage of beneficial insects - lady bugs, lacewings and parasite wasps. (Grass Roots Magazine, August 2000)

Carrying water:
Peter has young trees planted out in an area when irrigation is not connected. He fills his plastic wheelbarrow with water and wheels to each tree and buckets out water to young trees. From Peter Brady, Cape Tribulation Road (11-97)

To keep cats out of the garden, soak a cloth in either kerosene or cloudy ammonia and leave it near your favourite plants, or scatter orange peels around the plant with the cut side facing up. Ingham Branch Newsletter, December 1992.

An all purpose spray to control wire worm, caterpillars, aphids, and leaf sucking insects:
Bring to the boil in one litre of water: 3 Chillis, chopped; ½ onion, sliced; 1 clove of garlic, chopped.
Remove from heat, cover, steep for two days and strain.

May be used on indoor/outdoor plants and can be frozen for later use. (Alan Hayes, 'The Australian Senior', August 1998)

If you eat hot chillies, eat some coconut or coconut cream after, to take away the burning taste of hot chilli. (Chris Gray, Feb. 2000)

Cleaning gardeners' hands - Pour a little sugar and olive oil into each of your hands, rub together vigorously then rinse. Ingham Branch Newsletter, December 1992

To get rid of cockroaches that may be nibbling young seedling trees, put some syrup in a glass jar, grease the inside with butter and leave nearby. Leave till jar is near full of pests, then empty. It seems that once one enters the jar and drowns, others follow. (11-98)

Covering the Ground
For a cover around stems of tender avocados and mangosteen etc., plant several legume pea trees for shade while tree is growing; or for a pretty splash of colour and attraction for bees, plant some of the tall flowering lupins which are a legume. Legumes supply nitrogen to the soil on their root nodes. (9-81)

Next time you want to remove the flesh from a coconut, just remove the husk (don't puncture the nut), then put the nut into the freezer and leave for 4-5 hours (you should be able to hear the frozen juice rattling inside when you shake it). Crack the frozen nut with a hammer and the flesh should just fall away from the shell. (Kevin Whitten, December 2001)

Custard Apples:
Annonas seem to bear more if the humidity around the tree can be increased while they are in flower. Keep the tree to a low profile by pruning off skyward high branches and leaving all branches that point downwards to the ground. To help create humidity, water tree well with a fine mist spray under the canopy of leaves. Also potash helps custard apples to set fruit. (August 2001)

Electrical Surge Protection
To prevent burn-outs of your irrigation control gear and bore pumps from lightening, go to your computer supplier who can sell you electronic surge protection equipment.(9-92)

Erinose Mites
The brown felt that marks the presence of erinose mites is actually the leaves' reaction to the irritation. What happens is that the mites cause the leaves to grow elongated leaf hairs. Eggs are laid on young leaves and takes 13 days to mature. Erinose mite leads to reduced vigour, defoliation and death of the tree. The best control is to prune out severe infestations and then 3 or 4 sprays of wettable sulphur at 7 to 10-day intervals because the pest is difficult to control. (Ann Oram, Capricornia Branch Newsletter, Nov. '86, Rockhampton.)

Sprinkle epsom salts around the roots of maiden hair ferns after you water them, to encourage growth. A banana skin poked in the back of a staghorn fern can be used to feed it. Ingham Branch Newsletter, December 1992.

Fertiliser (Free)
I have been asked to comment on the use of Urine in the garden. It is a wonderful free source of Nitrogen and should not be wasted. Undiluted, it will kill most weeds but that is a waste. Banana plants can cope with urine undiluted. Most plants should be given a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part urine. Keep a bucket handy and every day, morning or evening, throw the cheap nitrogen on the soil under a fruit tree. I use most of mine on pawpaws. It can also be used to nourish sawdust compost. If applying to seedlings, always dilute 10 to 1. Urine starts to smell after a few hours, so never leave in the sun and a bucket with a lid can be used (if you prefer). Better, age it for at least a few days in a closed bottle. (Marjorie Spear, March, 1994)

First Aid
Grow an Aloe Vera plant in a pot near the kitchen door. Break off a leaf and apply the juice for the best-ever relief from burns or insect bites. It grows and proliferates with little care apart from some occasional watering. It's a natural remedy, virtually free, and unequalled for burns from stove or iron. (Cardwell/Johnstone Branch Newsletter April and June, 1994.)

Flood Gate
Where a fence crosses a dip in the land that carries water at certain times of the year, you can construct a rough but effective flood gate out of some wire and a stout board(s). Tie the board to the bottom strand of your fence. This keeps stock in during the dry weather but will rise with flood water. Extract Earth Garden September/November 1992 (11-92)

Food Preparation
Grease the top 2½cm of pan with cooking oil, butter or margarine when boiling jam, and it should not boil over.

Add a little lemon juice to water when cooking rice. This will separate the grains and whiten the rice.

Jam that has developed mould on top can be boiled again. This can be done in the microwave oven (after removing the mould). (Wide Bay Branch, April 2001)

To save on costs and to get a similar end product, try substituting choko, papaya or carambolas for apples in the tropics. In most recipes this works well.

Hog plums substitute well in many recipes too, as do firm jakfruit or firm mangos. Try adding firm jakfruit to a stir fry - it works very well as do above fruit.

While tomatoes are plentiful, freeze them for cooking later. Simply wash them, seal them in bags and freeze. When they are thawing, the skins peel off easily. (RFCA Ingham Branch Newsletter)

Deep freeze excess ripe soursop in ice cube form, allow to thaw during main course - good with fruit salad or ice cream.

When pulping soursop for use in drinks, desserts or to freeze, use the plastic blade on your food processor. This will separate the seeds without breaking them up. If you want to freeze passion fruit pulp without the seeds follow the same procedure. This is also effective when preparing coffee beans. (Mossman Digest No.3 Dec. '85.)

Papaya Yeast: Cut up one or two half-ripe papayas, seeds and all. Boil with a handful of hops. This makes an excellent yeast and bread made from it has a delicious flavour and keeps soft much longer.
(Cardwell/Johnstone Newsletter Oct. 1987.)

Jakfruit: A visitor to the meeting, Manuel, whose parents came from Peru, told the gathering that Jakfruit can be cut off piece by piece while still on the tree. The fruit will glaze over in a few hours and will not rot. The pieces of Jakfruit are used for cooking while still green. (From Mossman Branch Newsletter No. 33, Mar-Jun '94)

Jakfruit 2: Before cooking jak fruit seeds, place seeds on tray in sun and turn seeds occasionally. The sun will crack the hard husk around seed. Bring inside house, remove husk and boil seeds in salted water for 15 minutes. Tastes like small nutty potatoes. Good for nibbles. (From Len Mulier, Pawngilly, 11-97)

Freezing fruit
Freeze fruit puree in ice cube trays or cut up any nice fruit and place on foam trays you get from the supermarket, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Very easy and quick to thaw for a quick snack or sweet for an unexpected visitor, or make fruit smoothies with a blender. Put in a blender with other fruits - delicious and nutritious. (Chris Gray, May '98)

Fruit Fly
If you are a home gardener fruit tree grower and are aware of the harmful effects of poisonous sprays, cover your fruit when small with sections of stocking to avoid fruit fly damage to fruit. You can cover single or bunches of fruit this way and can re-use stockings several times. (11-80)

To help control FRUIT FLY population: pick up all fallen fruit, put in a bucket of water. Boil over fire, cool and then apply to trees as a mulch. Good for the worms. (5-81)

Ingredients: 20mls yeast autolysate
8mls Lorsban
1 litre water

Mix and keep in the refrigerator until you want to use it. You may buy the yeast at Mareeba tobacco growers. Spray a small area on one in three trees, eg: a small branch (lower) weekly or fortnightly, and offer to spray your neighbours' trees, to keep the pest at bay. (11-93)

Fruit Keeping
Don said in the early days to keep oranges, his mother would collect a wooden box and put a layer of fine dry sand on bottom of box then place oranges in sand, careful that no orange touched another, then a layer of sand, then oranges until the box was full. The oranges would keep for six months or until the next crop of oranges were ripe. In those days there were no fridges. Could this method be tried on other fruits? (Don Gray, 5-97)

Sketch of fruit picker.

Fruit Picking
To pick fruit that is out of reach, make a fruit picker and catcher in one. Get a long pole or a 6m length of PVC pipe, which is ideal. Drill holes in the top of it and thread wire through to make a loop. Attach a bag made of old stocking or material by sewing it around the wire loop. Now you have a fruit picker and catcher in one. It is especially good for picking mangoes and mandarins.

If you have a hill on your property, always pick fruit from trees at the top first and work down - that is if you are pushing a wheel barrow. (Chris Gray, Feb. 2000)

Fruit Sucking Moth
The large brown and orange fruit sucking moth which is active at night is best conquered with a tennis racket by lamplight. (Dr. Cunningham, Cairns Branch News, March, '85)

Use bait containing finely chopped sweet fruit, sugar and water suspended at the correct angle in 2-litre plastic milk containers, top cut out so moth can enter and not fly out - all quite tricky, you learn by experience. The mixture must not be too thick as you want the moth to drown. The containers may need topping up every 2 days with liquid or you can carefully remove the dead moths with some tongs. The moths are attracted by the near-mature fruit and like the sweetness. Mandarins and Marsh grapefruit are favourites (see Cairns Branch news for D.P.I. advice). You need several containers for a big tree - site near main trunk. (Marjorie Spear, May 1991)

The only way to destroy fruit sucking moth from your orchard or garden is to take a long flat stick and torch and do a patrol every night while the moth is active. Just give the moth a tap while he is sucking fruit and he will fall dead to the ground. I think the fruit sucking moth is worse than the fruit fly as once he sucks the fruit, the fruit falls to the ground rotten. This pest should be exterminated.

Fungal Infection of Trees
Wood ash or lime sprinkled around the base of fruit trees will help prevent fungal infections.(Cardwell/Johnstone Branch Newsletter April and June, 1994.)

Soak VEGETABLE SEED in a sea weed fertilizer solution for a few hours before planting. This will help seed to germinate into a vigorous healthy plant. (5-81)

Choose your stem cuttings with buds that have started to sprout and are about 5 mm long. Seal the top of the cuttings with mastic to prevent drying out. (Cardwell/Johnstone Branch News April, 1992)

When storing your gardening gloves, fold the tops over twice and secure them with a clothes peg. This will prevent spiders and insects giving you a nasty surprise next time you use the gloves. (RFCA Ingham Branch Newsletter)

Plant ginger pieces (obtained from the supermarket) in a large wide pot filled with a good potting mixture. You can "bandicoot" the root when you need a nice piece of ginger. If looked after, you should never need to buy ginger again. (Chris Gray, Feb. 2000)

Helping Trees
When you see fruit trees which have small, thin, yellow leaves, the problem could be a sign of a nutrient deficiency which is zinc. Spray the leaves of the fruit tree at recommended rate with zinc sulphate.

Custard Apples (annonas) seem to bear more if the humidity around the tree can be increased while they are in flower. By keeping the tree to a low profile, this is done by pruning off skyward high branches and leaving all branches that point downwards to the ground. To help create humidity,water tree well with a fine mist spray under the canopy of leaves. Also, potash helps custard apples to set fruit.

Mulch fruit trees after wet to conserve water and keep roots cool during summer. Keep mulch away from base of tree.

To stake a small fruit tree to prevent wind damage: place stakes at points north, south, east and west of tree. For tying material, use stockings, which are ideal. Loop stockings around trunk or branch of tree, then tie to stakes. Tying to these points prevents movement and damage to tree. A good idea is to keep a check on ties on trees by moving them up and down an inch at different times as fungus could form during wet weather and cause damage. Paint with copper oxy mixed to a paste if fungus is present. For bigger trees, use strips of rubber tubing tied to permanent stakes of hardwood or steel spikes. (3-81)

An excellent way to prepare a site for planting a tree is to dig out top soil about 1 foot deep and 3 or 4 ft across. Loosen up soil in hole. Put in hole one bucket of fowl manure, 1 to 2 lbs of meat and bone meal, 1 lb of rock phosphate, ½ lb super phosphate, a matchbox of trace elements. Mix well, plant tree. Put top soil back around tree and water gently. To prepare an area where water lies or for a tree that needs a well-drained position: dump a load of top soil on ground to make a mound. Do same as above. This method will prevent root damage to tree during wet weather. (3-81)

For the home gardener to improve soil around fruit trees and to cut down on fertilizer costs: encourage earth worms to multiply. Save all household scraps. Spread around ground at edge of canopy of tree. Cover with soil or grass clippings. The worms will eat the decaying matter and their worm casts contain five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphate, eleven times more potash and about 40 per cent more humus than there was in soil in the first place. Your tree will grow with vigour and be more resistant to disease. (3-81)

A good idea for stopping rot and fungus on damaged parts of fruit trees is to scrape or cut away damaged or diseased areas and apply a moisture-proof dressing of flexible bituminous product called 'tree wound dressing and grafting mastic'. This product also prevents moisture getting into grafts on fruit trees. It is available at hardware stores. (3-81)

When pruning JABOTICABAS, only cut back one-half of the tree at a time. We pruned ours like a hedge and it has taken four years for the tree to re-fruit. Cutting back gradually will ensure fruit. (Chris Gray, May, 2000)

To take ripe fruit out of a mature ripe jak fruit, cut fruit in half lengthways. Remove core, then turn the halves inside out (like the cheeks of a mango). The flesh is then easy to remove. (Chris Gray, April 2001)

Jerusalem Artichokes
Three good reasons to grow them: 1. Tubers are delicious; 2. The plants make a living screen; 3: They make superb cut flowers with their large, showy golden-yellow, daisy-like heads. (Sophie Ayton and Pam Farmer, 'Orchard Talk'. April 2001)

You can make excellent labels for trees or potted plants from the sides of aluminium drink cans or plastic margarine containers. Write on the aluminium strips by pressing firmly with a pointed object. (9-92)

Lemon trees that have tiny fruit dropping from the tree cause gardeners a lot of concern, but it may simply be the plant shedding excess fruit that it can't support. Extremely windy weather after pollination, or if trees are allowed to dry out and become water-stressed, are other causes of drop. (Wide Bay Branch, April 2001)

Lime juice
For a chemical-free cleaner, lime juice is excellent for cleaning the toilet bowl. Add lime juice to the bowl, leave a while, then brush and flush clean.

A cut lime is great if you have an itchy bite. Rub the cut lime onto the bite and the itch will go away. (Chris Gray, Feb. 2000)

Lost Irrigation Pipes
Have you ever lost your irrigation pipes, dug a post hole over them, put a crowbar through them, or ripped them up with your plough or ripper? It can be avoided by this simple idea. When laying your pipe, wrap a strip of alfoil around every few metres or so - easily located by a metal detector. (Peter Fontaine, Capricornia Branch News Vol.8 No.2)

After taking marcots from parent tree and potting into pots it is a good idea to leave all leaves on marcot and wet foliage at least three times a day by spraying with a weak solution of seaweed fertilizer in water. This prevents dehydration and gets the marcots to shoot quicker. It is even better to mist spray them continually until new growth appears. (9-81)

The best time to do marcotts on the rambutan is between September and February. The bark must come away easily, otherwise the marcott will not take. Don Gray, (7-80)

Making a Mist Bed
For those of us who can't afford to install a mist bed for cuttings and the growing of very small seeds, another method offering similar success is available.

I have two ten-gallon fish tanks which I have fitted with glass covers cut to the size of the top of the tank. The tanks rest on a table under an oak tree where they receive filtered sunlight.

In the bottom, I have placed three bricks and added about an inch of water. I place pots of cuttings or fine seeds on the bricks and cover the tanks with the glass covers.

The humidity stays high enough that the soil in the pots doesn't dry out. The glass sides and lid allow me to observe the results without uncovering the tanks.
'Farmer Bob', Extract from RFCI Tampa Bay Chapter June, 1989.

When mowing around young trees with a self-propelled walk-behind mower, it is a good idea to have the mower throwing the grass towards the tree, and pull back the cut grass after mowing. The reason is the grass is often thicker around a tree than elsewhere from watering and fertilizing, and if the mower is throwing grass away from the tree when passing a bit close, the tendency is for the thicker grass to jerk the mower slightly sideways into the tree, thus causing damage. So, always mow with grass throwing into the trees. (7-81)

To get maximum benefit from watering trees that have been mulched (especially when water is scarce) scrape away mulch gently and then water, as it takes a lot of water to penetrate mulch. Replace mulch after watering so as to conserve moisture. (11-80)

It is best to avoid trampling on top of mulch around fruit trees, as when trees are mulched, fine hair roots penetrate close to the surface of soil and into mulch. By trampling on mulch this tends to damage these fine hair roots and thus retards growth of tree. (9-81)

Make mulch heap for vege garden right on top of vege garden. Don't waste any weeds, grass etc: pile on top of mulch heap. Later when it is rotted down, take off stuff that has not rotted and shift heap to another section of garden. Where you had the original mulch heap there will now be lovely loose compost that you can spread around and plant into. Then start again and repeat the process. Keep the perennial mulch heap rolling through your garden beds. (7-81)

In the vegetable garden: rotate your crops to avoid monoculture. If possible don't grow the same crop in the same plot or row. Many diseases, notably the nematode, can be checked by rotation.

The most practical answer to a nematode problem for the average gardener is to build up the humus content in the soil. Humus produces fungi and is the enemy of nematodes. (1-81)

Passionfruit - eating
A better way to eat a passionfruit is to cut a piece off the top like you would a hard boiled egg, and eat out with a spoon. Cutting a passionfruit through the centre results in loss of juice. (Jo Anich, Mossman 5-97)

Passionfruit - planting
When planting out a passionfruit just cut the base out of the pot, stand pot against tree or trellis and tie to upright or stake to stop pot falling over. The roots will enter the ground and the vine will not suffer root rot. Do not mulch passionfruit vines as the mulch keeps the plant too wet and will cause the vine to die. (Chris Gray, April 2001)

Jakfruit rags and Soursop plup are high in pectin if you need setting agents for some jams. (Chris Gray, Feb. 2000)

Citrus seeds are a good source of pectin. Soak seeds in a little water over night. When making jam, the seeds and the gel around them may be tied up loosely in a cloth bag and boiled with the fruit. (11-87)

Pineapple storing
Storing Pineapples to await ripening: Turn the pineapples with top intact upside down. This stops bottom of pineapple rotting and the juice spreads to the top so all of the pineapple is sweet.(Chris Gray, Feb. 2000)

Plastic juice bottles
Clear plastic 2 and 3-litre juice containers make pot-sized greenhouses for cuttings. The cut-off top can be used as a funnel. (Sue Wilkie, Mossman Branch, April 2001)

Poly Pipe - fixing holes
If you wish to change or re-relocate an under-tree irrigation sprinkler and there is a hole left in your poly pipe, a 3.2 mm aluminium pop rivet will seal it off effectively. (Cardwell/Johnstone Branch Newsletter April and June, 1994.)

When pruning, place cutting blade against trunk of tree when cutting off a branch so as no stub will be left - as a stub can cause disease and prevent tree from repairing itself quickly. (Peter Santry, Julatten, 11-97)

The Rollinia is best picked when just turning yellow and cut from the tree with secateurs, while leaving 10 to 12 cm of stem attached. By leaving the stem on the fruit, it does not deteriorate so quickly. The fruit will then keep inside the house for three or more days. (C. and D. Gray, 11-81)

Safe Spray for caterpillars
Try a spray of flour and water first. Flour is a stomach poison for many caterpillars, but it takes a couple of days for them to eat enough to kill themselves. Try squashing them - the birds will discover there are juicy titbits and hopefully take over the job for you. Bacillus thuringiensis is a form of bacterial warfare for caterpillars sold as Dipel. As a last resort, use a pyrethrum or derris spray, if necessary. (Ingham Branch Newsletter)

Safe Garden Spray
Eucalyptus garden spray has become very popular with home gardeners because it is safe, natural and non-residual. You can mix your own spray by using the easy-to-make formula set out below:
Eucalyptus oil 5 ml (1 tsp)
Dishwashing detergent (any brand) 2 ml.
Water 500 ml (2-3 cups)

Well-suited for seedlings. Spray at base of plants. Repeat after a few days. Ideal for earwigs, slugs, snails and slaters. Do not store made-up spray. Thoroughly wash sprayer after use. (Cardwell/Johnstone Branch Newsletter April and June, 1994.)

Safe Garden Sprays - More Recipes

Coriander Spray
Boil one part coriander leaves in one part water for ten minutes. Cool, strain and spray. Use for red spider mites and woolly aphids.

Chilli Spray
1 cup chillies, chilli sauce or Tabasco
1 cup water
Leave overnight, strain and spray. Repels anything that eats or sucks leaves and can also kill caterpillars.

Mustard Spray
Mix powdered mustard seed with enough water to make a sprayable mixture.

Onion Spray
Pour ½ litre boiling water over 1 kg unpeeled, chopped onions and strain. Dilute with 20 litres of water and spray every 10 days.

Soap Spray
Mix soap made with caustic potash until milky and frothy. Kills scale and small caterpillars. (August 2002)

Seed Cleaning
Put the seeds in a pillow slips, tie the top with a string and put the pillow slip into the washing machine.( Be sure to use cold water, gentle cycle, NO detergent!) The seeds come out beautiful and clean. (Sarah at Port Markets, 5-97)

Seed (Vegetable) Saving
To keep your own seeds of vegetables of the type where you have to separate pulp from seed, e.g. cucumber, tomato, take only old mature fruit which have good seeds for germination and spread pulp and seed together on to woollen material and dry in the sun for a few days. When dry, scrape seeds off with a spoon so as not to harm seeds, then package.

To dry seeds of lettuce, cabbage, etc. wait until seeds are mature and nearly ready to open. Pick seed stalk end hang upside down inside a plastic or paper bag, with stem tied securely to top of bag. Hang until seeds drop to bottom of bag, then package.

Keep seeds of vegetables, etc., in packets inside a glass jar in the frig. Seeds will keep well for two years or more like this.

Slugs and Snails
Save your empty eggshells and crush them when dry. Scattered around seedlings to form a barrier, they will prevent slug and snail attacks, without the need to resort to chemicals (and adds calcium to the soil at the same time). (RFCA Ingham Branch Newsletter)

Spinner Sprinklers
Need to change your under-tree spinner sprinkler (watering a 5m dia.) to a juvenile head (watering 1.5m dia.) for small trees? Some brands of sprinklers call for the use of juvenile heads. The cost of these heads can vary from 20¢ to 30¢. A cheap alternative is to use a galvanised clout to do the job. Remove spinner head, choose a clout of the size to fit into spinner head and cut to length. (Cardwell/Johnstone Branch Newsletter April and June, 1994.)

When spraying trees whether by machine or hand, if possible it is a good practice to approach the tree from the opposite way to the previous spray - this should make sure that any blind spots are covered. (Cardwell/Johnstone Branch Newsletter April and June, 1994.)

Stain Removal
Camphor is useful when there are fruit stains on tablecloths or clothing. Dampen a rag with camphor and rub over the stain, then wash as usual and stains will disappear. (1-95)

When staking beans and peas, etc, use jute string and wooden sticks as stakes. When beans etc are finished, vines, string and stakes can go directly onto mulch heap and be re-cycled back into vege garden. (7-81)

Trace Elements To Promote Flowering And Fruiting
1 month after last fruiting, feed trees with POTASSIUM NITRATE about a 10-inch-wide strip all around the dripline. This will make the flowers more fertile.

THEN: 2 months before the next flowering, feed them boron or borax and magnesium in the same manner around the drip line.
½ cup ZINC
½ handful BORON
2 cups MAGNESIUM - (magnesium is EPSOM SALTS).
(Mossman branch newsletter, No.30, August 1993.)

White Oil
When you find it necessary to spray with white oil for pests such as scale etc., firstly do a test spray on a couple of leaves on the new exotic trees, as it is found that some are very sensitive to white oil. Some trees which showed sensitivity are: Jaboticaba, Inga, Rollinia, Abiu, Lychee, Red Mombin, Madrono, Sapodilla and Wampi. Don Gray, (7-80)

Windbreak +
"Not just for cement": Six-inch-square road mesh has been around a long time. In spite of this, it is surprising how few people realise its many uses in horticulture. Formed into an open-ended cylinder, it is rigid enough to be free standing in an upright position and support a considerable weight due to its heavy gauge wire construction. Covered with plastic shade cloth, it provides an excellent circular wind break for newly-set-out plants. Staking to the ground will prevent it being blown over by wind. Its light weight makes it easy to move from one location to another. For vines, it can be used in the cylindrical shape in place of a trellis.

Strung out in a straight line and held up by fence posts, it makes an excellent support for tying up raspberries or running passion fruit on. An improvised house for potted plants can be quickly assembled in any shape and then be covered with shade cloth. (RFCI Inc. Newsletter Mar. '87.)

DATE: April 2011

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