Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 04-11-2014 Contents Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 4
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Vigilance required as the season turns
Insects will be quick to appear on plants in spring.
In the garden
Pests and diseases have been around
since humanity first began to cultivate.
What has changed over the years --
while so many of us feel cross when
seedlings disappear owvernight.
Healthy green leaves turn yellow or
little piles of sawdust tell you that
borers have corkscrewed their way
into your favourite tree -- is we have
learnt much more about how, why and
when to cope.
Happily the days are long gone
when it seemed the only option was to
reach for some invariably toxic spray.
We now understand, as dedicated
organic gardeners have long known,
that organically rich healthy soil
sustains healthier plants that have
greater resistance to pests.
We know the value of selecting
certified virus-free nursery stock,
rather than propagating from infected
garden plants -- strawberries and
daphne are but two diverse plantings
that spring to mind.
One of the first insects to make an
appearance in spring are aphids.
Look for them clustered on
succulent new shoots and the flower
buds of roses.
Their sap-sucking feeding habits
will soon cause damage to foliage and
flowers, retard plant growth and
As new generations appear every
few weeks, control is often difficult
Small clusters can be squashed
between finger and thumb or
dislodged with a jet of water or soapy
spray but be wary of using anything
stronger once predatory ladybirds
Whiteflies are other sapsuckers that
thrive early in warm humid situations
like glasshouses and later on among
rows of French beans.
Sticky yellow traps from garden
centres offer some control.
Borers are often responsible of the
short lives of many native plants like
acacias and albizzia.
While judicious pruning and good
culture may extend their lives for a
year or so beyond the normal span, it
is often better to be philosophical and
have replacement stock on hand.
It should be safe enough
now to set tomato plants into
open ground or large pots. Sow
two or three seeds of pumpkin,
squash, zucchini, cucumber or
perhaps baby watermelon, into
individual hills of compost and
manure enriched soil -- leaving
the strongest of the seedlings
to grow on.
Note the memory ''jogger''
that Melbourne Cup Day is
time to give peonies their mid
spring feed. To each clump
apply a double handful of
blood and bone plus a double
handful of dolomite lime then
water well in.
Keep all annual herbs well
watered and fed after which,
''cut and come again'' is a
general rule of the herb
garden. By continually
snipping off half of the new
growth you will be rewarded
with even more side shoots to
cut again within a few weeks.
Once they have been
pruned back after flowering,
azaleas, camellias and
rhododendrons will benefit
from either an all-purpose
plant food for acid loving
plants; Dynamic Lifter for
Camellias and Azaleas; or
blood and bone together with a
mulch of leaf mould and some
pulverised cow manure. Ensure
new plantings receive
consistent moisture for at least
12 months until established.
The ISCCC and Yarralumla Residents
Association had a very productive
meeting last week with the Chief
Minister on community concerns
about asbestos issues at the Canberra
Katy Gallagher responded very
positively, agreeing the government
would consult with the community
after the first stage of asbestos
remediation work, to enable residents
to learn what was found and what this
meant for stage two.
She also undertook to respond to
our inquiry on whether stage two
could be delayed until a development
application was approved.
She also promised health advice
and/or experts would be available at a
community meeting to address any
concerns or questions.
Many aspects of the proposed
development, such as building height
and density, traffic flows and national
capital issues, remain controversial.
The ISCCC is working hard on
other issues affecting our community,
such as the Kingston arts precinct,
proposed redevelopment of several
public housing developments in
Griffith and Narrabundah and the
implications of the Capital Metro.
The next meeting of the ISCCC will
be held at 7.30pm on Thursday,
November 13, at the Italo-Australian
Club in Franklin Street, Forrest. The
guest speaker will be Molonglo MLA
Chairman Gary Kent
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